Stone Cold Friday: Defensive Pessimism Is A Bigger Problem Than Injuries

Wayne Rooney may think his life is in crisis with recent revelations but that was nothing compared to the distress which befell Darius earlier this week. Floods everywhere. Of tears that is and the tantrums, the like of which have rarely been seen. Why? Not Theo’s injury, oh no. Nothing so trivial. His wife forgot to put his Cornish Pasty in his lunchbox. He’s recovered and he’s here now…

Last night, I was watching an episode of NCIS, one of my favourite drama shows. In this particular episode, an elderly lady was caught up in a dubious murder of her fiancée, and it also turned out that her daughter and grand-daughter had been assassinated by a Mexican drug cartel.

The plot thickened when it also transpired that her son-in-law was the investigating officer. Naturally, the NCIS team started speculating about whether the woman was cursed like the Kennedy family or the Monaco royal family who had people dropping out left right and centre. Were the deaths coincidental? Or was it possible to be so cursed that everyone around you took a dirt nap sooner than they needed to?

It kind of reminded me of Arsenal’s situation. Are we cursed? Did we do something in a previous life? What is it with the injuries?

Take a peek at the Arsenal blogosphere and you’d think that there was a credible case for such a dodgy argument. This alongside other theories that Arsenal intentionally sign players of “Elijah’s” ilk from the movie Unbreakable; or we don’t steam their vegetables enough; or we train them too hard; or that because they’re mostly foreigners, they’re not ‘ard enough for the Premier league.

Panic stations take over when there’s the customary outcry about the depletion of our squad as the injuries pile up. Someone yesterday even blamed the Arsenal medical staff for causing the injuries while the players were on international duty.

Which begs the question? How many players and reserves are enough for us to ensure that we will never get an injury? 2 people for each position? Three, four, five – or maybe six? Should we be exempt from the 25 man squad rule because clearly, we have issues with injuries and we need more players?

Take the example of the Van Persie injury. How can you legislate for a full-on challenge of the “let him know you’re there variety”? And more importantly, in the forward position that Van Persie plays, Wenger started the season with the Dutchman, Chamakh, Bendtner and also Emmanuel-Thomas in mind. How many front men can you have in a team?

Questioning whether we are well equipped for the season is like demanding that for every position, we have players who are either immune to injury and suspension, or who will never get tired. It’s like there’s an expectation that before we even start the car, the driver put on a helmet, a seat belt and also double check that the top of the range air bag is in working order, just in case we have an accident. And even when we have our expected quota of accidents, we still complain that the driver should have worn thermal underwear.

To tell you the truth, I was baffled and bemused in equal measure about the anxiety and doomsday scenarios being perpetuated around the web about Arsenal’s perceived vulnerability following the injuries to Walcott and Van Persie.

Statements like “we’re one injury away from a 5 ft 4 inch pygmy leading the line” make you wonder whether there are fans actively willing Chamakh to notch up an injury for good measure.

A few months ago, Axis, a regular contributor on ACLF introduced the angle of defensive pessimism, an art form that a group of Arsenal fans seem to have perfected.

Defensive pessimism can be defined as a motivated cognitive strategy that helps people manage their anxiety and pursue their goals. Individuals who use defensive pessimism generally set low expectations, and play through extensive mental simulations of possible negative outcomes as they prepare for possible disappointment.

They spend their time and energy looking for every little thing they can criticize to rationalize their extremity and refuse to accept to work with what’s in hand.

Injuries are an occupational hazard in football. It’s frustrating as hell, but we get to work with what we have. Last time I checked, Arsenal was well equipped to soldier on with the campaign. I would go as far as suggesting that we have more strength and depth than our title challengers in this respect. The noise about ‘being one injury away’ from whatever doomsday scenario makes the mind wonder.

Teams like Chelsea have to resort to “crying wolf” when it comes to injuries just before an international break. How many times have we come across Lampard and Terry being injured just before teams break up, only to be fit and fighting just after folks come back from the international break?

Some call this Chelsea tactic ‘smart’, but it just stinks of a team that know they can’t handle their squad being stretched and have found cynical ways to protect their old age pensioners.

My take is that shades of defensive pessimism within the Arsenal ranks are more dangerous to our season than injuries that occur as a natural result of a contact sport.

We can’t stock pile players ‘just in case’ we get an injury. We already have a strong squad that will stand us in good stead for the season.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on September 10, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 247 Comments.

  1. Cbob

    Yes I know that the Cornish Pasty originated in Devon but let’s face it, they had a better PR department that your mob and it just wouldn’t be right to call them ‘Devon Pasties’ now…


  2. We will miss Walcott and Van persie but we have the manpower to soldier on without them. There is no need for concern yet but it would be nice for a change if football gods looked down upon us with a bit more mercy.It sucks to lose the in-form players, alittle good luck with injuries is all we are asking for.


  3. Darius – Nice post. I agree about the cover for positions. We have three international players all competion for the one postion of contral striker. That is plenty. Realistically another player of that ilk would not sit on the bench waiting for an injury crisis to unfold.

    There seems to be a presumption that Chamakh will soon pick up an injury. For all we know he may play every single league game this season. There is no reason why not, other players do it on a regular basis.

  4. Dont know what the answer is!! But we sure get more than our share of injuries.

  5. Chamakh has hardly been injured in his career before. So there is no reason to think this would change now.

    off course we can never rule out that a Ryan he’s not that kind of player Shawcross comes along and chops a leg to pieces.

  6. With due respect you are ignoring one issue. There are players in Arsenal who are too injury prone. The answer is not to have 4 players covering one position but to sell players who consistently get injured and buy players who are less injury prone.

  7. Biko – By my reckoning we have three players who I suppose you could class as “injury prone”. They are RvP/Rosicky/Walcott.

    RvP does seem to pick up a lot of knocks, Rosicky’s numerous niggles all seem to stem from the wierd knee problem he had. After a serious injury it is normal to have lots of niggles for a significant period. Theo falls in with RvP.

    All of our players pick up injuries at one time or another, but I think our main slice of bad luck is that we quite often get a number of them at once.

  8. I don’t like to get injuries Theo, RVP or any another player but we need some of our player to have there run and show us how good they are, I believe 100% Arsene he will never sighn thoose who are not deserve to play for Arsenal.

  9. I like your psychoanalysis Darius.Curse? The thought has often crossed my mind. Alex ferguson sitting in his office puffing away at a cigar and drinking scotch and putting the pin into the vodoo doll… Then reality slapped me in the face. Injuries are part and parcel of all teams, wear and tear and nick nacks over the season and waging a campaign on all fronts, internationals and the cost of success. Tottenham are now finding that out and their key players are falling like flies.

    Being the team that everybody thinks they can beat takes its toll eventually, the team seems to always have to work extra hard to win, are at the recieving end of overzealous tackles….Unfortunately for us it always seems to happen to our best players the ones who seem to get kicked the most. Also because we often take a punt on players who have already well documented injury lay offs Nasri and Rosicky we should not be surprised. As other posters have stated it is no reason to despair as the squad needs rotation, we have comparable talent in all positions and rather the injuries occur now than later in the season.To be fair injuries happen to all teams.United has been ravavaged by injuries to Hargreaves, Ferdinand,Rooney, vidic and Nani, intermittently. But whatever Drogba, Giggs and Scholes are taking please can we have some.

  10. mark paul hooker

    good post mate and i take your point about the negative.
    i,m a glass half full kind of guy and enjoy the rollercoaster that every season brings.
    however i disagree that rvp was done by a let him know you,re there tackle.
    that may have been the fate that befell eduardo but on this occasion i believe rvp just hung his leg out and that was more to do with his downfall.
    i love the fact that we are not moaning minnies and when talkshite call for arsenal supporters to respond to some hyperbolic nonsense they have invented the arsenal fans give them a large.MIND YOU OWN BUSINESS… NOTHING TO SEE HERE.
    anyone not sorted .braga is now on general sale from 33 quid. when spurs played braga at home they had 4 and a half thousend less then we had for a youth cup game at the emirates on the same night 38.000 and our 1st team was at villa on the same night.thats how we roll

  11. Darius,

    Nice post and effort to understand the gloom merchants. of course, there are those with far more sinster motives for their negative announcements!!

    I’m confident that we have the squad to play through these injuries: although I am most upset about Theo’s injury at this point in his confidence and performances. Still, it could be worse all round.

    Imagine being a Spud (disturbing I know but bear with me) and knowing that your manager is not only flirting with someone else’s job but that he will undoubtedly leave you in financial crisis and therefore screw things up for you for years after the dust from him clicking his heels on departing finally settles. All this being ably enabled by his dear son who punditry saw him announcing how the quality of Cappello’s English wasn’t good enough and that (hold your breath for this surprise), we should have an English manager. Or is it me just being synical?

    Anyway, let’s see how it all pans out starting with a drubbing of Bolton tomorrow!


  12. RVP is guranteed to be injured every season whther its with Arsenal or netherlands……….and I think we shud cut our losses and sell him while we still can. I would rather have a striker of less ability , but who would give us a full season any day. RVP’s injuries are getting really frustrating.
    We can efficiently manage our squad by getting rid of all injury prone players and not through buying 3 players for each position.

  13. Sorry,

    Must sleep more: “whose” and “cynical”

  14. I think this injuries malarkey is fairly simple. In the past 2 seasons Wenger had a growing but temporary problem of upcoming players ‘not quite ready’ (we were surprised to see the likes of Eastmond make an entrance) and in effect the core of the top tier team was smaller. There was much reliance on too few players, who tended to be ‘over-played’ but still we got within 2 points and 6 games to go, but then the injuries exacted their real toll, as one would expect – in the run in. Chelsea and Manu are where we have been, IF they can select from their top 14 for every match, they might both win stuff, and it’s a big gamble, and it will probably exact its toll in March April.

    This season is different for Arsenal. The team has been considerably stengthened by emergence of players that we previously nurtured – a strategy that took time. I think of players like Wilshere, Gibbs, Eastmond, JET, Vela, Walcott, perhaps Nordveit, Djourou, Bendtner, Ramsey, Lansbury, Randall, Frimpong and I keep hearing new names too. All these are in or close to first team Arsenal level. Wenger has been astute at blooding them. Some are injured now but the pool is big.

    Chewie, Fabianski and Vito are in the same category and our goalkeeping concerns are eally temporary considering.

    Along with the purchases, the senior squad to select from is far bigger, the scope for rotation much improved, and hence the overall rate of injuries will inevitably fall from this season onwards. Players get niggles and will have time to heal, unlike the last 2 seasons when players were brought back quickly, played through niggles, and sometimes out of position.

    By the way, JET is as ready as Wilshere has been to make an entrance, we have 4 central strikers to select from, that’s the plan. Randall is close in the unlikely event he is needed. Eastmond has had some experience (Song). Gibbs is super and potentially a left sided midfielder (think Diaby role). Vela raring to go. We have 4 fit defenders competing. Denilson is back. Cham is fully fit. Nasri back or close. More injuries will come along, but I suspect the season will pan out a bit like now – choices, choices – the issue for Wenger to pick a balanced team, rather than 11 superstars. Remembering too that the trend at Arsenal is for a relatively larger percentage of goals to come from a larger number of players – how we play.

    When RvP, Walcott, Ramsey, Bendtner all come back, Oct/Nov, they will compete for their places.

  15. ZimPaul – that’s one of the best posts i’ve read in a while. Spot on.

  16. OK, the point is, we are less and less reliant on any individual player – and notably that includes Cesc, RvP, Arshavin (and Walcott), all superb players but it’s fast becoming reality that the team does not necessararily revolve on any one.

  17. Darius, sorry switched off after NCIS. I agree with ZimPaul though, we are becoming less and less reliant on talismans (talismen?) and more reliant on the team ethic.

  18. Plus I used to live near Callington, and if that is what Pasties mean today, Cornwall can ev em bay!
    Draying, Bell ringing, Tatty and cream pie, cream on your sunday roast, do ee want ort fer eat? That’s Deb’m bay!

  19. Darius,

    the other day I raised the topic of the perfect goal.

    This goal is better than Eddie’s goal against Burnley!

  20. hahaha Rinseout! As a Deb’m bay, it’s nice to read the local dialect, and you’ve done well to turn that malarky into text – although you have to read it with a very thick Devon accent…

  21. And Callington… wow, that’s one of the most depressing places i’ve been to, a blot on the beautiful Deb’m landscape 😉

  22. Dgob,

    Old Pinksnooze will have to contend with managing the England prison team, cause I doubt the even FA are that stupi… damn

  23. I don’t think it’s fair to lable fans gloom merchants or point the finger at them because they dare to be upset. I’m sure even Arsene Wenger must feel like banging his head against the wall. Similarly, speculating on why Arsenal accumulate so many injuries is a natural thing for any fan to do, once again even Wenger remarked that they were looking for ‘the reason’ but as yet hadn’t found it. It isn’t neccessary to criticise Arsenal fans in every article! Haven’t you grasped yet that this actually creates division?
    To lose Bendtner, RVP and Walcott with Nasri still struggling is certainly a blow to our attack but thankfully we still have quality in reserve. To lose chamakh as well would signal a problem because Arshavin is not suited to the lone role. Although I agree with ZimPaul that JET looks sharp and we should see more of him in the coming weeks.
    There is no need to despair certainly, but it does still f*cking frustrate me.

  24. I don’t believe you gus caeser

  25. Gus – i think he was referring to those who are all up in arms and shouting about how wenger and/or medical teams should be sacked when the slightest thing that’s detrimental to our team happens, or how Theo and RvP should be sold because they have injuries more than others… Not people who have reasoned discussions and who put their point across in a sensible and non-sensationalist way. I’m frustrated too, but i dont get my noose prepared when a player gets injured, and i dont try to get others on that bandwagon either.

  26. Bloody ‘ell, Yogi. You were a bit quick of the mark there with your Cornwall defence.

    You’d think that Cornwall was the only county outside of London the way you Guardian reading London people go on. All those holiday cottages you go off to for the weekend and a ‘small cider’ in the evening. Bloody BBC has a lot to answer for.

    As for whether thay came from Devon first, Plymouth actually, it’s a moot point. the REAL issue is whether Mrs Darius made the pasties herself and, if so, what recipe she used. there are a lot of ersatz ‘pasties’ out there.

    As for the two ‘Deb’m’ boys, the last time I looked, Callington was in Cornwall. It really is a dump though.

    Alright me ‘ansums?

  27. Rinseout

    We turn off after NCIS as well. It’s well past mine & Mrs YW’s bedtime. Oh…


  28. LOL Rinseout – glad Zim Paul brought you back on board.

    Speaking of Devon, I thought Totnes was the most depressing area around. They produced Joss Stone though – so something good came out.

    I don’t want to talk about Devon much as Consolsbob will accuse me of confusing shy old Devon country girls with our city speak and flashy mobile phones. Considering I lived there for about 3 years, I got to appreciate that them girls are not as innocent as Cbob would like us to believe.

    btw…Zim Paul, great points and perspective you have there.

  29. I hear you Geo.
    But look at this quote from the article

    ‘Take a peek at the Arsenal blogosphere and you’d think that there was a credible case for such a dodgy argument. This alongside other theories that Arsenal intentionally sign players of “Elijah’s” ilk from the movie Unbreakable; or we don’t steam their vegetables enough; or we train them too hard; or that because they’re mostly foreigners, they’re not ‘ard enough for the Premier league.’

    This seems to me just a natural case of fans speculating, why even bring it up?
    When I come on this site there is always an article that in some form or fashion finds the time to comment on the negative side of Arsenal fans, this is in actual fact self destructive.
    I admit that fans that call for players to be sold, because they get injured too regularly, can go too far. I would personally keep RVP and Rosciky for life!


    You need to see me play football mate!

  30. Morning geo how are you? Its a good day for me, its eid..

  31. A list:
    RVP cesc Chamakh Arshavin Rosicky Nasri Walcott Diaby Denilson Song

    B list:
    Eboue Bendtner Vela Ramsey Wilshire

    C list:
    JET Eastmond Frimpong Lansbury…
    and on and on…

    thats at least 16 extremely versatile ‘arsenal grade’ players fighting for 6 places. 6 of them can play as a striker.

    what injury problem?

  32. Looool gus caeser I do man

  33. Agree with zim paul and to additionally to make our numbers count come march april we need to bed in some of our less experienced players now so they can hit the ground running later in the season when they are more likely to be relied upon.

  34. consolsbob – sorry you’re right, they’m over the border there inn’um..? callington, gunnislake and all that area have a very grey feel about them though from my experiences… I’ve only had good experiences in Totnes to be honest – i used to play in samba bands and performed at a few carnivals there – was always a good gig… other than that, haven’t been there so don’t know what it’s like when carnival’s aren’t on…

    Zap – yeah i’m not too bad, although i had a rare night of getting drunk last night and it’s made me remember why it’s now a rare thing for me… Meant to be getting on with some work but i’m feeling ACLF is much more bearable… Me and a friend of mine have had a 2 year pool session going on and last night we left it at 117 games all!! That’s about as even as it gets.

    Mr caesar – there’s speculation and then there’s throwing blame at whoever the issue’s department falls under.

  35. Gus – I blame the blame culture

  36. @Dgob at 9:16 am

    I think what’s more scary is that Sam Allardyce has expressed interest in becoming the next England manager when Capello folds his tent. What chance of moving away from percentage hoofball?

  37. For tomorrow I’d go with the following lineup;

    Arshavin Chamakh Rosicky

    Diaby Song Cesc

    Clichy Vermaelen Koscielny Eboue


    Bench: Fabianski, Gibbs, Wilshere, Sagna, Squillaci, Vela, Denilson

  38. Spot on about Gunnislake as well. Strange really, i live only a couple of miles from that place but on the right side of the Tamar. Completely different place.

    As for Totnes, it’s like a little upmarket Glastonbury if that’s your thing. Alright for a pint but that’s about it for me.

    I think our Deb’m girls are fairly safe from you ‘Big’ City boys. After all, we’ve got mobile phones of our own now and everything. Can’t get a signal though.

  39. Allardyce would make a superb, ‘churchillian’ england manager. No more pretence. Backs against the wall, hit and run, hoof and harry, up and down, 100 miles an hour, courage and sweat, in yer face mate, get the free-kick, send up the big lads, step on the keepers toe, an elbow too, pinball football, ping-pong to Gerrard, 18 metres out, zwang … it’s a goooooaaaallllllll. 1-3.

  40. Come to think of it, I’m not actually sure where the bloody thing is.

  41. Nice article friend. I will just add one thing to all these. Arsenal does not have so many fans all we have are supporters. They cheer when the team is winning and jeer when the going isn’t good. I stand by the team no matter what we are going through. We rather have the injuries now than over the busy christmas period

  42. Hmmm not really my thing at all consolsbob. I must say it did seem a bit drippy hippyish, but we were in a samba band so we probably fitted in quite well back then!

    Ole – i’d go with that too, but wondered why you’d go for eboue instead of sagna? Bit more flair going forward? Until you suggested that i would have had Sagna in there every time, but I do like seeing eboue at RB, definitely where he’s best… Good shout.

  43. Destiny – I agree, don’t want them at the ‘business end’ of the season either. I say bring in the mid season break.

  44. Cbob – I always did have to stand on the toilet seat facing west with an arial made of a clothes hanger stuck out the window and attached to the phone antennae (it was one of them brick phones that had a charger bigger than the actual phone), and even then – getting a signal was a project.

    The Deb’m girls in Torquay were corrupted by all the foreign European students who were literally there every weekend to party – the sea front was like a mini Blackpool concentrated on one street. The innocence fell with the darkness as you got the feeling the locals didn’t want to be outdone.

    The cider was a bastard though – could never handle the local variety fetched from a barrel out back that could dissolve anything organic.

  45. I heard Capello’s using age as the reason, but I definately think there’s more to it than that. I think the way the media’s treated him hasn’t been particularly kind, and perhaps he’s seeing something unlikable elsewhere.

    Anyway, this all fits with my prediction that Moureen will lead England. It’ll give him 2 yers to dominate la liga and make Barca subservient, and then only the international cene would be left for him to conquer.

    Personally, I’d like to see him and Fergie battle for the role. Both would be… interesting To see eitherin the situation: how the media take to them, how they’d take to the media, how they’d react to clubs trying to prevent their players going on international duty. Like I said, interesting.

  46. Geo,

    Rotation. Eboue needs to get games. He’s played less this season.

  47. The comment about replacing Van Persie with an ordinary player is hilarious.

    Anyway moving on.. Have to say even though I am always optimistic about our chances, our players abilities, and our squad options. I am slightly concerned about both Bendtner and RvP being out for a little while, hopefully Chamakh keeps himself going until then.

    If need be, there are a few others who can play up there. Vela is a striker by nature, even though we consider him as a left sided player, and JET is young, but showed in pre-season he can be called upon if need be.

    Its not all doom and gloom, but lets compare ourselves to United and Chelsea for a moment.

    United = If Rooney gets injured, they are instantly weaker, Owen, Hernandes and Berbatov are ok players, but not a consistent goal scoring threat as Rooney is. Rooney is the star player at United by a long shot.

    Chelsea = If Drogba gets injured, they do have Anelka, but he is again like in Uniteds case with Rooney, their stand out striker.

    Those may say our stand out striker is Van Persie, but that is contradicting coming from many who say hes never fit! Never the less he is our best CF, but not one we rely on.. Bendtner, Adebayor, Eduardo, and others being called upon just as frequently and doing good jobs for many games.

  48. fair enough Ole – rotation is the word this year you’re right.

    Defoe out for 3 months, that’s a shame… i’d like to see how the Sp*ds fair with an injury or 2 more, their rotating options are pretty lame – in comparison to the Mighty Arsenal that is… heh.

  49. ChrisGooner.

    I see RVP more as a playmaker than an out and out striker like Drogba, Rooney, or Torres.

    RVP’s strengths are more about influencing the people around him with his sublime touch and creativity. Yes, he does score goals, but not at the rate of your garden variety striker who is plonked up top to score goals. RVP’s assist rate is magnificent compared to the other key strikers in the top 4 teams.

    I think the most crucial thing is that when RVP is not scoring, we have a hell of a player on our hands still orchestrating the play and providing assists. This is just how Arsenal play. We don’t depend on what the media call a 25 goal a season striker (which is a fallacy because those who reach those heights are the penalty and free kick takers)…take that away and they’re in the 10 to 15 range.

    Arsenal are safer spreading the goal responsibilities around the team rather than having one or two designated players that the plundits can analyse on the sofa.

    When the other teams play and their designated strikers are not in form, chances are that these players become passengers. Try Liverpool with Tors in poor form and you might as well just play with 10 men. I don’t buy that argument of putting him there just in case – it’s one that’s used, but a brave manager would recognize that another ball player/striker will compliment the team more.

    The day after the Blackburn game, Gingers for Limpar did an analysis of Chamakh’s game which showed how powerful his impact was as a playmaker as opposed to a out and out goal scorer. We will miss that from RVP but Chamakh looks like he’s always been part of the furniture.

    I’ll look for a link to that analysis just for reference.

  50. AW mentioned Vela, JET and even Afobe as cover for the CF role in his interview yesterday. So hopefully that will put an end to the “we’re one injury away from Arshavin as striker” comments.

    I’d have a team similar to Ole’s, except maybe finding a spot for Vela to make up for losing Walcott’s pace. Diaby has to play though – he’s looking very good at the moment.

  51. One more day, just one more day.

  52. Darius – that’s spot on. Only Thierry before RvP has been so effective with assists as well as goals. DB10 obviously was more of a playmaker but not quite as prolific in front of goal as TH14 and RvP. And Chamakh is definitely more of a ‘build-up’ player, not the poaching type. Great to have someone who’s so good in the air there too.

  53. Bolton at home is the type of game Vela should be starting if he is to force his way into the team.

  54. Geo –

    What about Cesc he had a pretty even goals and assists ratio last season.

  55. This is the article I’m talking about.

    Great analysis on how Chamakh was a massive impact in that game and why he was the player who settled the team down and got us playing very well.

  56. Nice post . Hopefully we won’t miss RVP and Theo so much. I think we are better equipped to deal with injuries this season as long as we dont have too many key players injured at the same time, which was our greatest problem last season.

  57. The big city boys with their shining shoes and scarves flying in the wind are always an attraction to the country girls. Like flies to the honey pot. And it is always the country girls who are the best harvest.

  58. Maria – that’s very true, how could i forget Senior Fabregas?

  59. LOL Two Owls…I forgot the shiny shoes…and the flashy rental car….

  60. Thanks for that link Darius – a great analysis.

  61. Hello Everyone. I have been very quiet of late and I know that some of you missed me.

    I saw this today and it made me laugh so here goes:

    “We are short on the striker front when you have two strikers out but [Carlos] Vela is in good shape and we have Jay Emmanuel Thomas who has made some big improvements, we have Benik Afobe, a young player who can play striker and has shown big quality, so we still have some reserves.”

    AW should be on a stage. The idea that a couple of kids can come in and win games against top opposition is just hilarious. He is just spinning the fact that his and the board’s decisions not to buy more players over the last few years have meant that we understaffed yet again.

    A brilliant talent-spotter and economist but Wenger is not a serious manager in the sense of winning trophies anymore. He’s at the perfect club – one where winning trophies was an idea abandoned long ago. Relative success of CL football on a budget is to be applauded but the last 5 years have just been one giant PR exercise to convince the punters that we are serious about winning trophies. Having been angry about this previously, I now just accept it.

    133m on paying the bank and 5 m on players should leave noone in any doubt about the aims of AFC.

    Debt reduction the target 4th a trophy and 3rd a bonus. Welcome to AFC Emirates-style.

  62. Bolton’s keeper will be Adam Bogdan. Does anybody have any idea what he’s like?

  63. Finngun – asking such a question on an Arsenal blog could solicit a “better than Almunia” type of answer.

  64. If that’s how it has to be AIC, then so be it.

  65. Alex,

    You’re a troll.

    Be gone.

  66. @Ole, some people make you think that providing playing opportunities for reserve players is a crime. Why have a reserve team in the first place if they can’t graduate?

  67. AIC – What the fuck are you on about? You sound like you have some serious issues mate. It’s all a massive conspiracy to keep the bank balance up and the trophy cabinet empty…

  68. Guys, do you remember the Bolton fixture from last season? So full of talking points.
    I started watching the match with Arsenal 2-nil down, but was convinced we would come back strongly..Rosicky’s goal was simply stunning, it left the goalkeeper stranded.
    The build up to Cesc goal that involved a crunching tackle by Willie Gallas, got the press on our necks..
    What wouldn’t I give for a repeat of such excitement throughout this season, better still , capping it with title…
    Please lets concentrate on what the season holds ahead and not let a few injuries dampen our spirits.


  69. Well said Teezee.

    That was an awesome comeback. Hopefully we wont need to do that too many times this season…

  70. Alex – Arsenal already have 3 international strikers competing for one spot as the main striker. Realistically we cannot have more than that. We have a number of players who can come in a do the job should all three be injured. Which they are not at the moment.

    Despite he excellent start to the season, Theo is arguably not even 1st choice anyway. RvP obviously would start if fit, but Chamakh seems more than able. We are still able to field a forward 3 as good as anybody in the lge despite the injuries we currently have.

  71. Darius,
    that’s why I didn’t pose the question on an Arsenal blog but on The Arsenal Blog.

  72. I see our favourite troll is still trying to discredit a man that his unworthy of polishing his fabulous shoes, rather less critiquing.

  73. FYI for those of you that don`t know….


  74. darius

    Are we cursed? Did we do something in a previous life? What is it with the injuries?

    well I would say that we are’nt.but the injury thing is something whch we obviously need to sort.and if we don’t do that then we will be fucked every season.

  75. Ole,

    Agreed. As I said, I have accepted the reality that while we are paying off the stadium debt, investment in the team has and will continue to suffer. I am no longer getting wound up about it. I just enjoy the games and if we happen to win a trophy then great. If not, I’ll just enjoy the footy. I am not 100% happy about this but hey, I can’t change it.

  76. Geo,

    No conspiracy, just a fact.

  77. Gooner2.

    Pray tell – how do we solve it lest we get fucked every season?

  78. Darius,

    Promoting from the youth when they are ready is to be encouraged. Having to rely on young players before they are ready to made good the holes in the squad due to underinvestment is not.

  79. I agree with Gadget. I preferred AIC when he called himself Bill and pretended to be American.

  80. Eh? How many international center forwards do you want. We have four. I haven’t had a look at our rivals, but I imagine they have the same kind of depth.

  81. goonerandy,

    RvP is half a striker at best in terms of apps. Nik also has a history of injury. We gambled with 3 strikers last years and it backfired. Let’s hope the same does not happen this year.

    If it does we will have to unleash Benik Afobe on the unsuspecting Premiership. Watch everyone cower in fear…

  82. first we have to keep everybody fit and healthy.and secondly we have to look elsewehre for other options.and thirdly it is really up to wenger to look for realistic solutions.

  83. Hi One of Us.

    Its not just the numbers that count but how robust these players are. I would take 1 Thierry Henry over all 3/4 of our stikers now. TH14 was superhuman.

  84. AIC – how many players do you want in 1 position. Afobe is the 5th choice for crying out loud.

    Your argument is just baseless. Goonerandy has explained above that we have 3 internationals fighting for one position – it has fuck all to do with not investing.

  85. “We gambled with 3 strikers”.


  86. To be fair, we are a long way from “relying” on the younger players like JET. They are suplementing the squad when injuires striker, but we are not “relying” on them.

    The same as any squad. I have been critical of Arsene in the past for not stengthing. Even now there are positions I think we still need players. But I believe that this squad has strength in depth like no other in the lge. Other teams may or may not have a better first 11, but we have excellent strength in depth where some of the other top 4 teams seem a little light.

    If Chelsea were to lose both Anelka and Drogba they really would be screwed.

  87. Gooner2, are you suggesting that we’re responsible for the actual injuries? When you say that we have to keep everyone fit, you talk like we have control over what injuries players get in the field of play.

    AIC – you sound like a bloke who compares any new girlfriend with a previous one. Move on – Arsenal is years ahead of where Titi left us. Everyone has moved on.

  88. Actaully Maria, I can’t lie. My favourite troll happens to be James. He has a rather perverse sense of humour which I appreciate.

    Alex on the other hand doesn’t really display any humour, but rather the foul stench of arrogance that can only be exuded from the orfices of those with delusions of superiority. My mortal enemies.

    “Alex”, I scream. ‘My name is Indigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

  89. Darius,

    As I said above, its not just about numbers. Look at RvP’s injury record, Theo’s and Nik’s. They are appalling. Having 8 players like that may not be enough. Look at players like Wright and Henry, they could be relied upon season after season.

    Its not just about numbers. Its about having players of the right quality being available most of the time. RvP, Theo and Nik are often out.

  90. Hi, AIC. Strange that you should come back with this post – it’s not even worth debating.

    Even stranger that you’ve been back for 45 minutes now and Joe hasn’t showed up to suck you off yet.

  91. I think we have a good squad in terms of numbers but poor in terms of robustness. That’s all. I didn’t think that this rather simple point of view would cause such a stir.

  92. well its really up to our players to stop acting like babies.cos its been 5 years and counting and we still can’t manage a season with less injuries.cos we all know that we have rvp and inform theo who are yet to recorver from injuries.

  93. Gadget on September 10, 2010
    at 9:51 am

    Crazy corners & funny free kicks.

    Not sure if I can compare a goal from a ‘dead ball’ situation to Eduardo’s volley. I blame the ruby goggles.

  94. AIC – Your point is valid about the robustness of certain players. Difficult decision for the manager though; does he ditch them? An option perhaps, but they are obvisouly excellent players and worth persevering with.

    With our squad in such good shape, he does have that luxury.

  95. I discoverd this film the other day.

  96. > discovered.

  97. “Actaully Maria, I can’t lie. My favourite troll happens to be James. He has a rather perverse sense of humour which I appreciate.

    Alex on the other hand doesn’t really display any humour, but rather the foul stench of arrogance that can only be exuded from the orfices of those with delusions of superiority. My mortal enemies.

    “Alex”, I scream. ‘My name is Indigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.””

    Gadget – quality! I agree about James too to be honest, he does make me laugh sometimes…

  98. I’ve seen Troll 2, Finsbury! It’s appalling.

  99. I find it best not to engage Trolls head on more than once, the intial contact. They are strange beasts and have the habit of leaving their victims in even stranger moods.

    It is best to avoid their territory completely, but should one wander into your camp and force confrontation, you must strike with a savage blow and then retreat to attack from the periphery, thus giving warning to all: behold, there’s a troll about

  100. “well its really up to our players to stop acting like babies.”

    Goon2 – that’s just laughable.

  101. Mr Furious Styles

    hearing chatter about vermaelen being out of the bolton game due to injury. can anyone confirm?

  102. I’ve been told that Troll 2 is the best worst move ever. In fact, I heard the kid who stared in it is a bit of a cult star now as an adult and is actually made a documentary about the film and the following it gets. The doc is aptly called “Best Worst Movie”.

  103. Are you retarded or something? Have you ever played football?

    I don’t know about you but whenever i’ve suffered an injury, it’s the worst thing that could possibly happen and the whole time i’m itching to get back on the pitch. I always come back from injury far too quickly and have ended up giving myself long term ligament damage that only a medical team such as the one at Arsenal could fix.

    Do you really think that our players are just chilling out in the physio room, acting like hypercondriacs?

  104. that was to goon2 by the way…

  105. OOU,

    Troll 3 could be worse.

    Apparently, it was originally an Italian production, known as Ator IV: Quest For The Mighty Sword, and then renamed,
    Troll 3: Das Schwert Der Macht (The Sword Of Power).

  106. “..the shiny shoes…and the flashy rental car….”

    Would that be dotty wellies and a big four wheel drive with mud aoerosoled onto the front wings, Darius?

    AIC isn’t a troll. Maria has him pegged perfectly.

    Lots of anti Wenger vitriol interspersed with a stab at being reasonable to suck in the more gullible out there. He also attracts, and encourages, some truly awful posters. He’s only being reasonable of course.

  107. Mr Furious Styles

    Achilles thing with vermaelen, according to john cross

  108. haha well summed up cbob

  109. Geo – I can second that. I have had a number of injuries, including a snapped ACL. It is the worst and most frustrating whilst you are away from the game.

  110. Finsbury,

    I goals exactly like that on Pro Evo! It’s the only way to score from fre-kicks on that heap a junk.

    I also know what you mean about the rubies! I keep mine on so much you may as well call me Scott Summers, or Cyclops if you will. (Alright, so the geek in me likes that quite a bit. Too much in fact. So much so that I’m calling dibs on those usernames on all Arsenal blogs!

  111. andy – and to think that people are accusing our players of acting like babies!! They live and breathe football, every day, so being away from it must be torture… Maybe i’m wrong, but i expect almost all footballers to be absolutely gutted when they have to sit out – whether it’s though injury or being displced by another teammate.

    The players don’t decide whether they can play anyway, it’s down to the medical team to conduct numerous tests and if they’re able to play, they’ll play.

  112. this is a question by geo

    Do you really think that our players are just chilling out in the physio room, acting like hypercondriacs

    well I’ve never mentioned anything about our players chilling inside the physio room.but your above statements just tells me that you are a guy who is’nt simply worth arguing with.and calling names will not solve anything.

  113. Do you understand why it’s laughable yet goon2?

  114. I wasn’t calling you anything, i was asking a valid question… If you really believe that our players are just acting like babies, and not chomping at the bit to get back on the pitch, then asking if you’re retarded is merely trying to understand where your misplaced logic is coming from…

  115. Gadget,

    I guess it’ll be harder to score goals like Canales’ against more experienced defenders, but it still looked like fun.

    Did you see this free kick for Braga?
    (3rd goal)

    The ‘keeper could be blamed, but not many critics would have saved that shot!
    I think Braga will be good opponents, the away game will be fun.

  116. hmmm, the Verminator needs to stop acting like a baby.

  117. Seriously though, that’s a blow. Guess we’ll know the full extent of the injury tomorrow. Hopefully not too bad…

  118. Squillaci will squash Kevin Davies.

  119. Mr Furious Styles

    Its squillachis time to kick as and chew bubble gum.. and he’s all outta gum.

  120. geo

    Misplaced Logic?

    no that was my fucking opinion.

  121. Calm down man… You’re right, they’re being little sissies who don’t like it up em. I’m glad we’ve come to this breakthrough in why we’ve had so many injuries, it’s something that thousands of people nationwide have been racking their brains to work out. But you’ve nailed it gooner2, nice one!

  122. Geo

    I guess we are cool Right?

  123. Mr Furious Styles


    Are you dreaming of the future England manager, Samwise Allerdici?

  124. Consols,
    No virtriol:

    133m reducing debt: fact

    5m or so net spend: fact

    No trophies for a few seasons: fact

    Success of CL football on a budget: fact

    RvP, Theo and Nik having many injuries: fact

    We are currently light on strikers due to injury (again): fact

    I think that you prefer to label my comments
    negatively as it easier than confronting reality. I am not anti-Wenger or anti-Arsenal but we are not serious about winning trophies and haven’t been for some time as we have debts to pay. I have accepted this. No vitriol, no anger. Disappointment maybe but I have had my expectations driven down by the last 5 years so it doesn’t bother me as much anymore.

  125. Is it fair to say an opinion which hasn’t been poundered upon pre-formulation is little more than a brain fart?

    I’m guilty of some of the stinkiest at times. In fact one of the stinkest places around is sometimes in my room, and the smell doesn’t come from me, but LBC. Nick Ferrari, ugh. Get’s me as angry as a visit to a doom site

  126. Poundered, the past tense of the verb pounder.

    To pounder is a far more intense and inwardly aggressive form of pondering. e.g., The student poundered upon the exam question before him, thus ensuring he fully understood the task. Unlike his peers who merely pondered, and his friend, who furiously pondered.

    As defined by the go go gadget dictionary 2012 edition.

    There I bring you words from the future

  127. Squillachi and Kos to start? I would not be suprised if Djourou started though. I suppose it depends on his fitness.

  128. Don’t be silly AIC.

    You know very well that you can’t stand Wenger, that you blame him and the club for the team’s ‘failure’ to deliver you trophies.

    It doesn’t bother you so much anymore? Then why bang on about it?

  129. I know, AIC has a bed rep here, but I’m not sure the essence of what he is saying is that different from what I’ve seen many regulars expressed at some time or the other.

    The fact is that the club not as desperate to win trophies as our fellow contenders. It’s almost a moot point that spending big increases your chances of winning. Isn’t that how we explain the successes of chelsea, manu, mourinho etc? The fact that we’ve not invested as much as we can on players therefore means trophies just aren’t all that important to AFC. Add to that the fact that we don’t take the CC and FA cup as seriously as some of the other top teams.

    To be honest I’ve always been personally been ok with that. But I can understand why some fans will get upset. The problem is the management seems to continue raising the expectation of fans unnecessarily imo by making statements like “we can compete financially with chelsea”, “wenger has so so millions to spend”. Statements like those, contradicts the reality of our frugal policies.

    Fans who are desperate for trophies, and who already think they spend too much on tickets, are justified in wondering why if we have so much money, we never seem to spend it, when it is clear that spending it will improve our chances of winning titles.

  130. TV def out – on the website…

  131. but the best part, Supercod, is that instead of the headline reading “Injury crisis for Arsenal” it reads instead “Vermaelen knock opens door for Squillaci.”

    Personally I’m excited to see sasquatch in operation. A home match against Bolton is a good debut match for anyone.

  132. Darius,

    I don’t know if to laugh or cry. Hoofball would be the best we could expect in his short reign. Hopefully, by then he and Blackburn are in the Championship.

  133. Now thinking about it, I do wonder if our policy will ever change. Will we start spending (to our capacity) when the stadium debts are fully paid? If we don’t start ‘spending big’ what will become of all the profits that would be generated seeing as the club doesn’t pay dividends. It would be interesting to see how the future pans out on that score…

  134. I have no idea (or interest really) what qualifications Fat Sam has to become the national manager other than being English, and a bit of a media favorite. Bizzare really.

  135. AIC, I think you are quite embarrassing and not necessarily because of your comments.

    Its shame that you havent said anything for months. Wenger has added some really good players to the team and you would think that a person like you who always wanted new players would celebrate that? but no, you were silent.

    Now we have a few injuries, HERE YOU COME with your negativity.

    Its sick to take pleasure in the misfortune of your own team.

    Also, who cares if other teams will be afraid of the players we put on? all I care is that they get the job done.

    Do you believe Wenger is talking about playing all of the younger players at the same time? He is obviously saying they can slot in with the more mature players to get the job done and I dont see why not.

    Stop being a hater!

  136. We shouldn’t need to “spend big” for a long time to come thanks to the excellent youth policy. We need to suplement the squad each year with one or two quality players.

  137. AIC,

    I don’t agree with your view. AW’s priority is the “success” of AFC. This clearly takes into account winning matches and (thereby) trophies. Yet it does so not just for now but for the long term.

    You and several others have what appears to me to be a very limited view of what constitutes ‘success’. This seems to be underpinned by the twin claims that AW and AFC are more interested in finances ‘and’ that you are more concerned than them with winning trophies. The path to your demanded success: SPEND, SPEND, SPEND. Fortunately, we’ll all be able to see how Man Citeh’s spending turns out this season. Not that Leeds Utd (or many of ‘Arry’s former clubs) haven’t already pointed the shortfall in this approach!

    Tomorrow should be ‘entertaining’: another key term for the modern AFC.


  138. AIC’s posts are rotten eggs. Fact, fact, fact. At least with James you know he’s a spud and has a bit of wit, not a his dullness the shapeshifter.

  139. Gris – good point. Glad he got 90 minutes under his belt in the week…by all accounts he looked pretty good, given he hadn’t played yet this season….

  140. Dbob – Comparing Leeds to M City is not realistic. City have a billionaire owner prepared to throw cash around without any possible comeback. And don’t kid yourself that (maybe not this season) it won’t be successful. When Abromovitch came on the scene, most poeple said “you can’t buy the league”. And were proved wrong.

    I would not want us to go down that route, and nor do we need to do so to remain competative. No matter how rich a club is, they can’t buy all the players. Us winning the league in the face of such cash rich clubs as City and Chelsea would be Arsene’s 2nd greatest achivement.

  141. goonerandy

    It doesn’t matter how much the media like them beforehand; they always hate them whilst they are in the job. Unless you’re Terry Venables, that is.


  142. “Wenger is not a serious manager in the sense of winning trophies anymore.”


    Hmm.. I’ve just had the stangest dream… AFC were in the title fight year after year… and the quarters and semis and final of the Champions League…

    See you at the game, Alex, you clueless fucking prick. When the rest of us are caught in the grip of excitement that yet another title challenge brings… I hope I fucking spot you. I’ll come over and give you a good fucking shake. Someone needs to…

    I find the fact that you’ve been angry for 5 years fucking hilarious!

    You’re an Arsenal fan for fuck sake!

  143. Gadget,

    I fear that by the time his wheeler dealing his fully unearthed he may be too old for the job or (given the media’s demonstrated impact on forming public opinion) for a prison sentence!!

    Still, he’ll have well and truly mounted the Spuds by then

    Happy days

  144. The club might not be desperate to win (to the extent of running our club into debt in the hope of a suggardaddy bailing us out) right now, but we’re challenging every year, and improving every year, showing that our long term project is an excellent model that others are looking to aspire to. Just a little more patience is needed then we will all see the fruits of Wenger’s clever little loins. Trophies will come in the next year or 2 and it wont be because we’ve spent loads of money, it’ll be because of the system that Wenger & co. have been working on and nurturing over the last 5 or so years.

    If people have been expecting us to be at the very top of the pile while moving stadiums and paying off massive debts, they have very unrealistic expectations. We’ve gone about things in a way that will have us set up beautifully for years to come and will be in no threat of being punished by the proposed financial rules, which the likes of manure, shitty and chavski cannot guarantee.

  145. Words can’t really describe how made up I am today for Benik Afobe and his family. What a day for him!

  146. YW – That is very true. And for that reason I now want the fat twat to get the job.

  147. What’s that about Limpar?

  148. Speaking of the Spuds; where on earth do they get their cash from? Not so much this year granted, but inprevisou years they have really spent huge sums.

    If their new dump of a ground gets the go-ahead it will be interesting to see ‘arry managing a club without the access to hoards of cash.

  149. Henristic,

    I would challenge you on your assertion Arsenl doesn’t invest enough on players.

    I would say it’s quite the opposite. Arsenal invest on the players we have. We invest heavily upon youth. We do this not only financially, but with hope and trust. We renew our players contacts, work with them through the injuries and assure them the time to regain fitness and return. All the club seems to ask for in return is loyalty and effort, and aprat from the few blips the players oblige.

    If you want to specifically say invest in the tranfer market, then what you mean is to gamble and in doing so we’d be display little confidence in the players we have. Just look at Citys way of investing in players, look at Chelsea with their aging squad. I prefer the way we invest by far, and when we win, it’ll be all the more sweeter not only because of the wait we’ve endured, but because it’ll mark the return of the club’s investment.

  150. Gadget – i was hoping to get that point across above but dont think i did it very well… cheers!

  151. Mr Furious Styles

    Will be very interesting to see koscielny and squillachi playing on saturday considering they havent played together before, and not exactly at lot of minutes of PL football between them either. squillachi at least looks kinda tough so lets hope he can handle mr elbows davies.

  152. Goonerandy,

    Real Madrid!!!

    Let’s not make assumptions (or, as might be more appropriate, write cheques that our bodies can’t cash) on the basis of Chelski’s still recent on field success!

    Just my view

  153. Dgob – Their main opposition Barca have not exactly spent lightly though have they? Only one team can win the lge. I don’t get your point about Chelsea???

  154. Dgob and Paul N said it a lot better than me.

  155. Henristic @ 2:24 and 2:28:

    Very well said. I try to make the same points sometimes but never that succinctly.

  156. Saw this on the Guardian’s website, sober reading for what can happen to even a “massive” club like Liverpool should the inmates get to run the asylum:

  157. To say that trophies aren’t important to AFC displays a complete lack of understanding of all things sporting.

  158. Exactly Limpar – every team, manager, player and supporter wants to win. Arsenal just sees the bigger picture and is preparing for the future. I can’t wait to see people’s reactions when we start dominating again. There will be humble pie a-plenty being guzzled down i’m sure.

    and what was it you were saying about Afobe and his family?

  159. Gadget @ 1.57 – that cracked me up 🙂

  160. Limpar, I just felt I had to say something but I dont believe that AIC is worth responding to because he only comes around spouting poison when something goes wrong.

    What an ridiculous thing to believe that Arsene doesnt want to win trophies! So what if Arsenal havnt won for a few years as if it is our God given right to win anything!

    Madrid havent won anything lately, Man United didnt win for a for years, Chelsea didnt win jack until recent billionaire times and Barca went quite a few years without winning.

    Our Time will come and LORD knows I hope AIC is a Man City fan at that point, but no, he will jump on the bandwagon with absolutely no blinkin shame!

  161. Seriously Henristic you give yourself away in your response to AIC. Do you really think there is not much difference between AIC’s views and most others who post here?

    We want to see Arsenal grow into the biggest club in the world. AIC has no interest in that.

  162. Koscielny’s twitter: will partner with Sebastien tomorrow

    I think he meant *copulate*???


  163. Henristic on September 10, 2010
    at 2:24 pm

    Your comment is a mishmash so to respond I’ll separate out what you seem to be saying.

    1. We have money & spend less of it than we have.
    2. We buy fewer players than we need.
    3. The club doesn’t care about winning trophies as evidenced in how much we spend.
    4. Spending more money will include our chances of winning a tophy.

    My response;

    1. As I love pointing out, we do have significant debt to take care of in the short term. It is quite possible that the debt for the property devts have been liquidated now. It’s possible that some of it remains to liquidate. What’s clear is that we’ve had to pay off or at least set money aside for some of that debt. Whatever the case may be, any amount of money spent servicing the debt will not go to transfers and vice versa. It’s not like the club would be leaving money lying idle by not spending it on transfers. Liquidating our short term debt as quickly as possible is of utmost importance, as the more we do that the more we secure the club’s long term financial position.

    2. I seriously contest this notion. For the last 3 years, at least, we have had a more than adequate squad with sufficient quality of players. Additions and improvements to the club will be had at the margins, and not by addition. The club is quite satisfied with the quality of squad we have had. You might not agree but the fact is that we have a young squad, younger than our opponents. They have contested the league in 2 of the last 3 seasons, and they’ve played finals and semi-finals. It is quite clear that the basis for success exists. But no side, including winning ones has a perfect squad.

    3. My response to this one is similar to point 1. I’ll add that if your premise is true, it means thie club has never in modern times cared about winning as we’ve never spent big or been a club that tried to succeed by spending a lot of money. Our success, being England’s 3rd biggest club in trophy count came by doing things in other ways.
    We took on 2 big ambitious projects namely; building a new stadium & assembling a young squad (with younger academy & reserves backups) to keep us competitive meanwhile, but which can then win titles. We have to see those through.

    4. It is one thing to say Chavski had £400M with which they bought whichever player they wanted, so they could make mistakes, buy out opposition transfer targets by bidding 3 times asking price. It’s another thing to argue that spending £4M or even £14M extra per season would make us more likely to succeed. When we talk about Chavs & Man U having money advantage we mean that they’ve had a massive +£400M or +£150M advantage. Since we can’t compete with that we have to double down on what achieved success for Arsenal in the past.

    I will conclude by pointing out that there are 5 clubs; Man City, Spuds, Liverpool, Aston Villa & Sunderland who together have spent maybe £1 billion on players in the time we haven’t won a trophy, and still have weaker squads than we do.

  164. Geo,

    My sense of humour is weird and I’ll annoy you and everyone else with it eventually!

    That or I’ll come out with something so grossly inappropriate!

  165. Will the policy ever change?

    You mean will we start ‘spending big’ on ‘ready-made’ superstars bought from our direct rivals?

    I can’t speak for the board or manager, but I seriously doubt it.

  166. AW mentioned Afobe as possible cover up front, Geo. How amazing would that feel?! So pleased for him.

    Paul N, one of the funniest u-turns is that the same twats who were saying Theo was washed-up last year (at 21!) are in tears now about an injury to one of Arsenal’s ‘key forward men’.

    I’m no psychologist so I hesitate to expand on Darius’ well made point about ‘defensive pessimism’… I think that probably accounts for a lot of negativity… down playing your own expectations… I’m just more inclined to call a cunt a cunt when I see one.

  167. This Summer, Wilshere, Lansbury, JET, Nordtveit & Frimpong have all been added to the Arsenal side.

    Why do people ignore the fact that we have had a constant stream of additions to the first team squad over the last couple of seasons. Doing that saves us money doesn’t it?

  168. How patient of you, Ole. I was just going to call him a cunt.

  169. Ole has the patience of a saint. Most of the time.

  170. Gadget,
    I understand your point and I quite like the youth policy myself. It is at least a more interesting approach compared to the tried and tested approach of buying your way to the title.

    That doesn’t change the fact that IF we were desperate for trophies, we wouldn’t be continuing the gamble of a relatively untested approach when we clearly no longer need to from a financial pov. We would instead be investing much more than we currently have in the transfer market. We can certainly afford to, as the club’s management have point out and as confirmed by the financial statements.

    I’m ok with our frugal approach; I’ve never really been too crazy about trophies. I support other teams in other sports who never win anything and are never likely to.

  171. Hey Darius…great post as always.
    Thanks for the dose of common sense.
    (…Defensive Pessimism still going strong I see…)

    Not to throw fuel on a blaze that is hopefully dying, but there seems to be a sizable hole in the logic employed here. Investing in players is not like popping down to the shops…

    “You know what we need is a striker…”

    “Really? I’ll pick one up on the way to the grounds. Want anything else while I’m there?”

    “Keeper, maybe? Cheers.”

    There’s the issue of availability, price, do they fit in the team structure, will the team that owns them even entertain a deal with us (Shwartzer), will they accept what may be a temp role, etc, on and on…there are so many factors. If you’re going to examine this issue, at least admit that you are attempting to guess at an ocean of information, behind the scenes machinations, a torrent of in depth analysis, an a world of variables WITH VIRTUALLY NO INFORMATION AT ALL.

    It like a kid, having no idea what it takes to run a household, saying “Mum and Dad haven’t bought me a bike, but I see the paychecks when Dad cashes them, the money’s there. They must want me to have a mediocre life…”

  172. “Paul N, one of the funniest u-turns is that the same twats who were saying Theo was washed-up last year (at 21!) are in tears now about an injury to one of Arsenal’s ‘key forward men’.”

    How ironic limpar. If song were to get injured it would be the same.

    They said “Sell Song, Walcott, Rosicky, RVP, Denilson, Diaby and Eboue”

    They have no shame at all!

  173. Delia-----Block 112

    I understand TV5 has an achilles injury. Trust his absence tomorrow will allow him to play in the Braga game. Been bogged down with tennis last 2 weeks so am a little out of touch. Going on Saturday ,everything crossed no one else falls by the wayside. The injury Gods seem to have dealt us a real bad hand.

  174. Henriestic, but the team did invest so I am confused by what you are saying.

    For me, what you are really saying is to bring in and bunch of players and kill the growth of the younger players.

    The young brilliant players will then want to leave and we will be buying a new team somewhat every few years. Forget that crap, I will wait.

  175. Axis @ 4:25pm,

    Spot on!! That is EXACTLY the approach taken by numerous doomers and AFC ‘customers’ and your analogy is, IMO, great.

  176. Gus Caeser:

    “I don’t think it’s fair to lable fans gloom merchants or point the finger at them because they dare to be upset. I’m sure even Arsene Wenger must feel like banging his head against the wall. Similarly, speculating on why Arsenal accumulate so many injuries is a natural thing for any fan to do, once again even Wenger remarked that they were looking for ‘the reason’ but as yet hadn’t found it. It isn’t neccessary to criticise Arsenal fans in every article! Haven’t you grasped yet that this actually creates division?”

    Oh, poor doomers. Speculating about why we get so many injuries is one thing. Quite another is to moan about it as if Arsene Wenger is purposely stabbing each and every one of you idiots in the heart. By the way, Rosicky has been the only player whose injuries were not easily recognizable. All of the other injuries we have suffered are ones that any proffesional football player will suffer during his career. With the exception, of course, of the leg breaks and ankle dislocations which seem to be inflicted on our players the most.

  177. LA,

    I know what you mean

  178. Henristic,

    “That doesn’t change the fact that IF we were desperate for trophies, we wouldn’t be continuing the gamble of a relatively untested approach when we clearly no longer need to from a financial pov.”

    This is not a fact at all. It’s rubbish speculation you spout to wind up people on ACLF.

    “I’m ok with our frugal approach; I’ve never really been too crazy about trophies. I support other teams in other sports who never win anything and are never likely to.”

    What a load of bollocks. You obviously don’t mean this, you’re merely trying to wind people up. You’re ridiculously transparent in your motives.

  179. I dedicate this song to AIC for retuning to the blog as pessimistic as ever.

    We love you Arsenal…We do
    We love you Arsenal…We do
    Aarsene Arsenal…WE LOVE YOU

  180. That is some rant Ole,

    But think you’re making too much of what I said, and in one case, addressing a point I didn’t make. Is it that you have the patience of a saint (as consolbob averred) or you love the sound of your keyboard? Either way it was sweet of you to help organize my mishmash comment into readily digestible bullet points.

    In keeping with your ‘structure’…

    1. Just to be clear, are you saying we couldn’t spend any more than we currently do because of the dept repayments, even if we wanted to?

    2. Wrt to point 2, I never said we need to buy more players or increase our squad numbers. What I’ve said we don’t do is “‘spending big’ on ‘ready-made’ superstars bought from our direct rivals?” or not so direct rivals. This is clearly the conventional approach to winning titles. Like I’ve said before, I quite like our approach. It is a thing to be proud of. But I can understand why many won’t share the same view particularly if we can afford not to be as frugal as we’ve been.

    3. I said the club isn’t really desperate for trophies. Key word here is desperate. It doesn’t mean we won’t like some if it came away (and god knows we’ve been close enough a few times), but we aren’t really desperate for a trophy. We’re happy enough just to compete and stay in the top four, and our financial investment in the team has been in accordance with that goal, given our wage bill. If we were DESPERATE, surely we’d be spending more?

    4. I agree completely with what you’ve said. Doesn’t change the fact that spending more increases your chances does it? That’s all I was saying.

    Its true that Mancity, Tots, Villa and so on have weaker squads despite having spent more than we have in recent years, but they’re not the teams we need to top if we were DESPERATE for titles. Chelsea and Manu are.

    Me, I like our approach. It’ll be all the sweeter when we do win something.

  181. Henristic…you need to acknowledge that phrasing your comment this way has the ring of deep disrespect to the players and a coach that many feel are desperate to win. I’m not trying to inject myself into the discussion you’re having I only wish to clarify.

  182. Henristic @ 4:18:

    The youth policy is not a risk, it is critical part of a long term future of AFC and will allow us to compete for many years to come. A youthful pipeline supplemented with transfers is the ideal method for building success. See Barcelona.

    I also think that the club is deperate to win trophies. Watching AW on the touch line the man is clearly passionate about wanting success for the club.

    Fans would like to see the club use every available resource that is legal and spend every available quid that does not risk our long term financial future towards winning those trophies. Small example: We must have been scouting and known all along that we wanted Squillaci. Why wait till the end of the window to bid on him. He will start the next game without ever having gone thru preseason training or worked with his teammates. Will that hurt us in the next few games? Probably not but why take the risk. Did we save a few quid by waiting? May be. Will saving that small amount of money have any real long term importance for the club? No.

    We can not live above our resources, but it appears to most fans that we are now living below our resources. Will that prevent us from winning trophies in the next few years? Hopefully not. Would spending that extra money we now have in our coffers help us win a trophy. No way to know without trying. All the fan negativity and concern will stop as soon as we win a trophy or 2. Seems logical to use every available avenue towards that goal.

  183. Paul N,

    “For me, what you are really saying is to bring in and bunch of players and kill the growth of the younger players.”

    That’s not what I’m saying at all. What i did say is that if we were that keen on trophies we’d spend all what was within our power to spend on ‘proven’ players and won’t give a shit about killing kids. Remember mourihno’s chelsea?

    I like our youth policy, and I’m generally very happy with Wenger. Do I have to say that in every post?

  184. Don’t mean to interrupt this fascinating thread where people with X-ray vision are informing us of the health of AFC’s accounts.

    (A raw shell of a stadium delivered on time and budget, free of any bling, slowly being fitted out. Ca$hflow? I’ve never heard of such a thing! Just sign that check and don’t ask what happened to the €40M black hole in the philosophers stone that transmuted itself into the form of an Eto-Ibrah-Villa triangle. Otherwise known as the art of Dimensional Transmutation)

    Bolton will be giving a debut to their Hungarian ‘Keeper Adam Bogdan.

  185. Bill,

    “Small example: We must have been scouting and known all along that we wanted Squillaci. Why wait till the end of the window to bid on him.”

    I don’t know for sure but I’d bet Arsene goes in to every transfer period with a list of players that Arsenal have scouted, prioritizes his targets, then moves down the list, as his approaches to other clubs are turned away. Squillaci was probably down his list somewhat, hence the late approach. Why must everyone assume it’s Arsene or the board being stingy and hoarding money?

  186. Let’s not get bogdan in the minutiae of it all, Finsbury…

  187. Bill,

    You’re right that the youth policy is not that much of a risk to keeping the staus quo. i.e. competing every year, qualifying for the CL, and playing attractive football while spending lesser than our peers.

    Me saying it was a gamble was only in reference to winning trophies where the vast majority of cases show that teams that win major titles tend to be the bigger spending ones . Barcelona’s successes don’t change that trend.

    AW’s agitation on the sidelines isn’t an indicator of our desperation to win titles Bill. He just doesn’t like to lose.

    There are many ‘passionate’ managers who never realistically expect to win anything major throughout their careers

  188. You both keep accusing a massive enterprise like AFC of failing to do the kind of basic financial analysis that would be considered criminal for your local carpet manufacturer, and your sources are the 3-column inches you get from the daily rags that institutions practice lying to…It’s ridiculous to assume that any of your points hold water. You have no basis from which to make them.

    ‘Did we save a few quid by waiting? May be. Will saving that small amount of money have any real long term importance for the club? No.’

    You’re looking at a single decision in isolation. You have no idea what else Wenger is trying to do, or what other variables are in play. What Wenger spends there means money not available to spend elsewhere…what he spends this time effects what he pays next time…none of these things are as simple as you insist on reducing them to.

  189. Bill,
    That was kind of the point I was making, i.e. some fans would want to see us spending more of the resources we have available.

    But why would we when the current model suits us so well? We play awesome football, and we compete every year. We sell out our stadium for just about every match and we’re widely regarded as a classy club for our approach (did you see Carragher’s interview the other day?).

    Like I said before, I do wonder what we’d do with all the profits when we’re done paying the stadium debts. The club will have to start paying dividends surely?

  190. And re Squillaci, I don’t know why we waited that long to get him but I’m not sure it matters all that much. We already had Kols and Vermalaen for the preseason.

  191. The status quo is to challenge for honours every year at the very highest level in world football. I’m fine with it.

    The majestic football we play is ok too.

  192. LA


    I was looking at the proposed new fit out for FC BBB’s Neo-Nou Gnu stadium.

    Nice, pretty CGI sketches.
    Well, they’re collages really.
    Somehow, I think that there might be a slight delay in that project .

  193. Axis:

    “It like a kid, having no idea what it takes to run a household, saying “Mum and Dad haven’t bought me a bike, but I see the paychecks when Dad cashes them, the money’s there. They must want me to have a mediocre life…”

    Good analogy. The doomers love to throw figures around as if the club deals in monopoly money.

  194. Yes, well said axis.

    I like the new whinger party line. It’s gone from petulant, childish ‘wa wa wa’, to pouty adolescent, “we’re doomed… but hey I’m ok with it.” Are they growing up? Probably not.

    I can’t wait for the game tomorrow. Booka Shade in Kentish town tonight, then at the game tomorrow. Feeling very weekendy.

  195. Bill:

    “Small example: We must have been scouting and known all along that we wanted Squillaci. Why wait till the end of the window to bid on him. He will start the next game without ever having gone thru preseason training or worked with his teammates. Will that hurt us in the next few games? Probably not but why take the risk. Did we save a few quid by waiting? May be. Will saving that small amount of money have any real long term importance for the club? No. ”

    Really, Bill? How the fuck do you know who was or wasn’t on Wenger’s radar and if he waited to bring in Squillaci at the last minute just to save a couple of quid? Fuck me. It’s not enough that Wenger bought a decent CB, now he’s being slated for the timing of his transfers as well?

  196. Did you see Xavi’s leaked mood board, Finsbury? It had a photo of Cameron Diaz’s hair from There’s Something About Mary on it, a sample from the upholstery in George Michael’s Land Rover, three Russian ballerinas, hundreds of pots of Brylcream, a sketch of himself surrounded by Jean-Paul Gautier sailors and a baby pig with Cesc’s head on it. Marca are having a field day.

  197. Did you see the picture of Cesc that seemed to be covered in, ahem, a rather viscous, milky substance?

  198. No, Cb. I thought that was a viscous rumour.

  199. @Gainsborough

    Don’t address me and then proceed to talk utter drivel that has no relevance whatsoever. I have NEVER in my life blamed Arsene for our injuries, so get your facts straight you fucking jumped up little twat.

  200. Limpar:

    “I like the new whinger party line. It’s gone from petulant, childish ‘wa wa wa’, to pouty adolescent, “we’re doomed… but hey I’m ok with it.” Are they growing up? Probably not.”

    The child rearing manaul says that petulance and defiance are signs that the child is starting to get beyond their terrible twos.

  201. I thought Xavi had his balls lopped off back in his academy days anyway? He kept getting his DNA on everyone… Cesc couldn’t wait to escape.

  202. The doomer twats are blaming Wenger for not having bought enough players and are also blaming our medical staff for our injuries. Like I said, one thing is to specualte about what causes the injuries (ie; the modern boots, too much playing time, rash challenges, etc.), quite another is to sulk like a little bitch and revert to negativity and wallow in “I told you so’s” like the doomer brigade is wont to do. So no, I don’t think doomers should be given the benfit of the doubt because they are bewildered by the injuries. If anything, the way they turn it into a bitchfest is because of their doomer nature. So fuck you, you little sensitive bitch.

  203. Verminator wtf??

  204. Gainsbourg69,

    You really should stop reading le-grove.

  205. It strike me that part of the issue is the reporting (accurate or otherwise) of how much of a warchest Wenger has to play with. Quotes that we can “challenge anyone in the transfer market” (PHW I think but could be wrong) just serve to raise expectations. If people believe there is upwards of £40 million available there’s a tendency to believe that should all be spent during the transfer window, when players come in that aren’t particularly expensive come in whiter they are good or not becomes academic. I wonder if a more circumspect handling of the press might manage expectations better….?

    Just a thought…

  206. *whether

  207. @Gainsborough

    You talking to me?
    I noticed you failed to address the post to me. This is obviously because you realised that I had in fact never criticised Wenger about injuries, nor have I reverted to ‘negativity’, ‘wallowed’, or said ‘I told you so’. Having realised your mistake you tried to compose an open post whilst having a sneaky dig at the end. Pathetic.
    Listen Gainsborough the only one creating a bitchfest is you, all of your posts are negative. You have the intellect of a pre-pubescent child, angry at the world. Or I wonder, did mummy drop you on your head once too often? Now pipe down little boy and next time you have something to write try engaging your brain.

  208. Thx G69, Limpar…this ones getting bad.

  209. Henristic:

    That was kind of the point I was making, i.e. some fans would want to see us spending more of the resources we have available.”

    Thats the whole point. No one knows if that would really make a difference for us winning trophies or not but it sure could not hurt. There is no guarantee but why not give the club every possible advantage as long as we can afford it?

    We should beat Bolton tomorrow. Know nothing about Braga. Looking forward to the games starting again. International break is no fun.

  210. “Have I seen Xavi’s leaky mood board?”

    Flippin’ eck.
    Now I know what the warning was that AW gave Cesc in the ‘greatest conversation’. He didn’t need to mention the desperado’s attempting to cover something (?) with a marquee signing.
    Nope. No need.

    Random thought for the day:

    Will Alan Hansen ever criticise the previous regime at what was formerly known as Liverpool Football Club, for not having a Football Brain?

  211. Henristic:


    You really should stop reading le-grove.”

    I don’t have to read Le Grove. They bring their crap over here.

  212. the last one 🙂

  213. Gus, you didn’t have to blame Wenger. The mere fact that you say it’s unfair to single out those who go negative, which is what Darius pointed out in his post, over something as unpredictable as injuries , speaks for itself. In my opinion, not only is it fair to point them out, it’s also necessary to ridicule their thinking.

    You saying I’m pre-pubescent? Nonsense. I’ve got loads of pubes.

  214. Thanks, G4E. Those vids were great.

  215. Anytime GB69, I actually never seen them before on Youtube…so it was a nice surprise for me. 🙂

  216. Part of the problem is the way the ‘transfer budget’ gets reported. They say it like it’s an absolute amount, ringfenced and to be spent only on transfers,

    In reality, the way it works is; you have some free cash that you can spend. There are competing demands on that cash. Such that if you had £40M of free cash and you could only justify spending £28M (because you only found suitable targets for example), you wont go and spend £12M on unsuitable targets, because the remaining £12M could go into paying off your debt.

    The one comment that absolutely infuriates me is when fantasy managers criticise Arsene for not just paying that extra however million.

    Wenger has delivered extraordinary success to Arsenal, more than aby manager in EPL history apart from Feggerson, with a fraction of the
    spend by scrimping.

    The very method which has kept us competitive is what you criticise. I find that very perverse. Especially because he’s doing it for the sake of the club. You’re undermining a very good thing.

  217. Why spend more of the supposed resources if you have bought what you need? Is it just for the sake of spending?

    Those fans who want more of the rsources are clueless to me.

    We bought the players we needed so why spend more?

    Something just doesnt add up, how many players can one team have?

  218. Undermining is the perfect word for this foolishness Ole.

    Lets get someone in and stick Wilshere back in the reserves.

    I dont get it.

  219. Would having spent £2M more on Koscielny, £2M more on Squillaci have given us a stronger squad? Absolutely not.

    You could say we should have paid £2M more and bagged Schwartzer for example. £2M taken off our debt or, put into an improved salary package for Arshavin doesnt seem like a bad use of that £2M either.

  220. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Nice one, Darius.

    Nice to see the miserable moaners get the obligatory aclf slap down by Ole and co., too.

  221. Ole.

    To add to your point about the transfer budget, sometimes you wonder whether some of these folks think we pay players’ wages with Waitrose vouchers. Just because a player costs £15m in transfer money doesn’t mean that’s all we pay – we have to account for the wages in that contract.

    There’s a fallacy that the transfer money just pays for the transfer fee and vouchers cover wages.

  222. …not to mention that every choice also means that you are NOT making another choice. Every quid spent means its NOT being spent somewhere else. Opportunity cost is always a balance between competing needs.

  223. Football is the only activity on earth where managers get stick for not spending more than is needed. In the corporate sectors, if you complete a £200M project for £190M it’s a big deal. It’s not only expected that you try to do so, it’d demanded.

  224. Arsenal in its current form is a very clever club. They know what they’re doing. And they execute very well. If you’re being simplistic, thoughtless or just reflexive in your appraisals you’ll get so much wrong.

    Just think about what this club has executed in the last 10 years. It’s been extraordinary. I find it hard to find a better run club anywhere. And it’s a source of immense pride to me that my own Arsenal which I supported when domestic cups was the height of our ambitions gets so much right. That’s frankly why I can’t stand the AAA or just the mindless moaners.

    Trophies will come. It’s impossible that this squad won’t eventually win trophies. Even if AW left, at some point we will win 1 and then many trophies with what has been laid down here. It’s understandable that levels of patience vary, but moaning and turning on the club and players is very dangerous.

  225. That’s very true DS. Wages and bonuses are a big part of transfers these days

  226. more than injuries, the curse is upon the fans i think. i mean for christ’s sake, its only 2 injuries & we start panicking

  227. ‘m starting to worry about Friday Night Live on ATVO. Callers are so positive, even I am wondering what’s going on

  228. i can’t even imagine some of the fan’s reaction if we lose a game. Its getting uglier than off season

  229. Great stuff, today. Excellent. Effen brilliant.

    As NJN said, nice to see the moaners get bitch-slapped right, left and center for spouting utter nonsense.

    In the inimitable words of G4E:
    We love you Arsenal…We do
    We love you Arsenal…We do
    Aarsene Arsenal…WE LOVE YOU

  230. “I‘m starting to worry about Friday Night Live on ATVO. Callers are so positive, even I am wondering what’s going on”

    Really Ole? I was so sure it would be overrun by the moaners that I haven’t bothered to watch any of the FF this season.

  231. There has never ever been a moment in my life where I wasn’t happy to be an Arsenal fan. No matter how miserable our losses have been, I have never thought to myself “I would love to be a supporter of Barcelona/ManU/whatever.”. Even when we lost the CL final, I was still proud to be an Arsenal supporter … and I will always be!

  232. I have watched Henry play many times for the Arsenal and he usually pulls out of or avoids some tackles. He seldom went for 50-50 balls. I used to think maybe he lacked “courage”. But slowly I realised that he was just being smart – led to his longevity in football and scoring loads of goals. Another things was, win or lose, he usually maintains a good relationship with players from opposite sides – a Mr Nice Guy. That led to less players “targeting” him.

  233. Ole:

    “In reality, the way it works is; you have some free cash that you can spend. There are competing demands on that cash. Such that if you had £40M of free cash and you could only justify spending £28M (because you only found suitable targets for example), you wont go and spend £12M on unsuitable targets, because the remaining £12M could go into paying off your debt. ”

    And even under these constraints we are always competing for first place in the Premier League and we get to the second round of the champions league every season. On top of that we have a crop of youngsters who grew up together and are already seasoned pros with all the energy of a youth player.

    Honestly, I look around the league and I don’t envy anyone else’s situation. Chelsea is a few injuries away from serious problems and if Manchester United loses Rooney or anyone of their stop gaps like O’Shea or Evans, they’re in tremendously seroious shit. This week we lost two important players and we can comfortly replace them.

    My line up for tomorrow:


    His excellency Emmanuel Eboue scores one and assists Arshavin for a couple. Double switch at the seventieth. Rosicky for Eboue and Vela for Arshavin.
    tops, for their financial doping to explode. Look at Terry and Lampard pulling out of internationals the way they’ve done. Drogba is not too far away from the glue factory either. Ashley Cole is thirty. Ballack got shipped out. Deco couldn’t hack it.

  234. Well you can’t blame the fans, they learnt from the best ‘wenger’ yea arsene knows best. Well when the manager perpetually refuses to deal with a weakness(experience,
    Strikers last season,quality in depth, gk etc) in his team &then use that as an excuse for failure, why shouldn’t the fans look for an excuse in anticipation of another failed season?

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