All’s Well But Will It Manuel & European Nightmares

Manuel Almunia received the backing of his captain yesterday, encouraging him for the season ahead:

Manuel commanded the defence very well at Blackburn – but it is not just about one game or two or three. He is well-loved player among everybody here and performs well for this club. We all wish him a super season and have a lot of trust.

You would expect nothing less than support from the squad since that is the ethos that Wenger encourages: win as a team, lose as a team. Yet the comments indicate the fragility of that trust, indicative of the position in which he plays rather than Almunia as an individual.

There is no doubt that the Spanish goalkeeper needs a big season; he hinted that he could improve his standing, win over his critics two seasons ago with consistent performances. Last season saw his development stall; inconsistency, costly errors and generally not inspiring confidence at all.

Personal circumstances contributed to that and should not be forgotten. Diplomatic absences seem to have reinvigorated Almunia for this campaign. The summer saw him replaced in all but name as number one and it was a little surprising that he was first choice as the season commenced. I suspect there was an element of Fabianski not doing enough – particularly in Poland – to inspire Wenger to take the risk with him so reverted to the Spaniard when other options did not materialise.

It is early days yet and no guarantee of form can be determined. Confident at Blackburn with crosses and looking safe against Bolton are positive steps but the first test will be how he reacts to mistakes and whether they are costly. Then the torrent of criticism which is bubbling will no doubt be unleashed.

As a new Champions League campaign gets under way this week, the manager observed the distress of repeated European failures prevented him from sleeping. There have been some glorious nights under his reign, matched by some abject performances along the way. For every wonderful victory in the San Siro or Bernabeu, there have been crushing defeats against Lens or Auxerre.

The list of failures is not limited to defeats. His first campaign officially in charge ended with an appalling aggregate defeat on away goals to PAOK Salonika. Even for the fledgling double winners, 1997/98s UEFA Cup defeat to the Greeks was a nightmare. The benefit may have been a less congested fixture list that helped in the pursuit of domestic glory but nonetheless, it was a tie that Arsenal was expected to win. Nowhere near the depths to which Winterslag dragged us fifteen years before but disappointing nonetheless.

Most painful defeats happen in finals or semi-finals; to come so close yet have nothing show hurts. The defeat to Galatasaray wrankles, the performance and penalties were abject. Similarly, losing in Paris with ten men being so close to victory hurts yet pride can be drawn from that performance.

The defeat which is most disappointing, represents the biggest wasted chance was The Invincibles. 2003/04 was the Golden Opportunity; Wenger’s strongest squad, in-form and in hindsight, the weakest semi-finals and final competition in Champions League history. Chelsea should have been beaten at Stamford Bridge, there were enough opportunities to do so. When Jose Antonio Reyes gave Arsenal the lead in first half injury during the return at Highbury, the shutters should have dropped. They didn’t and Wayne Bridge’s winner still fills me with dread.

Monaco in the semi-finals should not have been underestimated but Chelsea collapsed spectacularly in the first leg and threw away a tie-winning two goal advantage in the second, neither of which the Arsenal team of that season would have realistically done. Porto? Well, Mourinho’s fairytale farewell would have been a nightmare. It would have been a fitting reward but it was not to be. And we still wait for the Champions League to be delivered.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on September 14, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 193 Comments.

  1. Reading and listening to various media outlets I am amazed at the lack of respect Arsenal continues to receive. I have barely heard one single prediction where someone is tipping Arsenal for any kind of glory this season. It makes me sad that the work done by Wenger, along with all the quality the our squad and club has goes unnoticed. For this reason alone I hope we can do something this year, to vindicate the manager because he deserves it more than anyone else in football for his beliefs and the way he goes about doing his job.

    Up the arse!!

  2. Mongolian Gooner

    I personally prefer being written off. Takes a lot of load from our players’ backs. too much pressure and negativity from media would have undesired effect on our players.

    This year is our year. Arsene Wenger deserves this big-eared-trophy more than anyone else. Many times it slipped from his grasps. But not this year.

    Watch out world, here comes Arsenal the Conquerors of Europe. (evil doctor laugh. muahahahah ahem)

  3. I still remember the Wayne bridge goal. Was it Lauren or Kolo who saw ghosts in the build up to the goal???

    Ahhhhhhh!!!

  4. Mongolian Gooner

    What ghosts? Real ones or you speaking hypothetically?

  5. Please don’t remind me of that night!!! Arghhhhhh!!!

  6. I have the feeling if Wenger Rotates well this season, (Have two world class players for every spot as we do now…) We will challenge, and challenge mightily.

    UP THE ARSE

  7. The latest hansen’s article in the bbc just show how pathetic this guy is. He says Walcott is not a good footballer despite a hat trick and a flawless performance and continues to insist everybody’s wrong on Theo and he is the only true knowledgeable pundits. And now he is saying how great Torres is after an horrible performance against Birmingham and saying yet again you are all fools and I’m right in judging players ability.

    I can’t believe this guy can still write and speak about football when it is so obvious this guy is one of the most biased pundit in britain! I can remember him a few years back on MOTD judging a cesc performance with several assist as average and then talked about Gerrard mindblowing passes that only found the touchline!

    As for the CL, I hope the boys give a good performance to kickstart our european campaign in style and get the group stage done and dusted as soon as possible so we can rest the squad in the last games when the fatigue starts kicking in.

    A for the team for tomorrow:

    —————-Almunia
    Sagna—-Kosc—–Verma (squillaci)—-Clichy
    —————-Denilson
    ———-Cesc——-Nasri
    Rosicky (Eboue)—-Chamack—–Vela

  8. @gunnerluc:

    Link???

  9. @MG

    I think hypothetical ones… instead of running towards Wayne bridge to make a tackle, he took off in the opposite direction and left mad Jens in No mans land..

  10. Bossman- We’ve been written off everything they even tipped the Spuds to finish above us. how did they work that out? We finished above them last season and this season our squad is stronger. But you earn the respect of the media by proving them wrong and i believe we will prove them wrong. The defeats to united the Chavs and the Spuds did hurt our pride last season but it will be a different story this season. Chamakh is the piece that was missing last season. he seems to offer something extra even when he doesn’t score he is a team player works hard. At liverpool he was the difference and against Bolton he put us a head when it mattered. Vermaeleen is top class and Squilacci is a cool character who does not seem to panic at all. Kolcieny will eradicate his mistakes, he looks like a quick learner.

    Having Spuds in C.league will only add an edge to our game and might push us forward to do better than them and wouldn’t it be sweet if we win it the Year the Spuds qualified for the first time in their history it will be a painful reminder for them.

  11. the night we lost to chelski in ECL is still the worst of my life!

    we had hammered them in league and cup already that season.

    Since 1995 we have now lost in finals of all 3 Euro cups, and in last decade have been dumped out of ECL by all the other members of the “big four”, in ever more humiliating circumstances.

  12. earl

    At least we are there every year, for all Chelsea’s investment as well they are yet to win it.

  13. For me the saddest memory of the Champions league was the quater-final exit to liverpool in 2007-08. We were robbed. I just couldn’t accept the result back then and I still find it hard to accept the way we went out.

  14. The final for me. I was in Paris too. 😦

  15. President Eboue’s comments:

    “I’m still so happy to be playing here, with these guys and for this manager. It was my dream before and to make seven years will be incredible. As you say, I’m one of the senior players now – I feel comfortable within the squad and always do what I can to help the younger boys.
    “I never think about myself – for me, it’s always about the team. Even if I’m brought on, I’m just privileged to be among the 18 players.
    “When I play I try to do my best but I also love to see my friends score goals and play well, it makes me happy and proud. I have a responsibility to the squad whatever the situation. When Theo scored his hat-trick against Blackpool I ran straight up to him. My heart is clean and I don’t think negative things about people.”
    “God tells us to respect everyone, so that’s how I behave towards players, manager, staff, everybody I meet. People say I’m crazy because I’m always laughing and trying to make everyone happy, but it’s how I am – it’s not only at Arsenal, it’s with the Ivory Coast and at home with my wife and kids too.”

    He surely does loves Arsenal like we do…

  16. Still no news on Diaby then. Hope it’s not as bad as it looked…

    Every match so far has given me more confidence in the season ahead. I’ve got a feeling that we’re going to do something special this year, whether it be winning the league, the FA cup or the Champs league. Just got a feeling in me bones…

    The extra ‘bite’ that we seem to be getting every week is very encouraging. If it wasn’t for all the injuries at the end of last season, it would have been our year. Shawcross-gate was the moment for me that brought the team together and where all our ‘boys’ realised that they can slug it out with all the dirty bastard ‘men’ that kicked us into submission on so many occasions in seasons gone. Nailing Bolton and Blackburn consecutively is no easy task, and we’ve shown them that we wont be bullied this year.

    I’m really excited about our chances. And we’ve got plenty of amazing football to be watched before we see Cesc lifting a trophy in May…

  17. I love Eboue, what a legend 🙂 I hope those people who booed him feel as ashamed as they should.

  18. OK, OK, OK … enough of this ‘the worst night of our lives’ reminiscing. You are only as good as your last (or is it next) game, and that works both ways forwards and backwards. The immediate is to get through group stages, where our record is mostly impeccable – we don’t have a particularly easy or difficult group this year, but it would be a seen as a major upset if we didn’t qualify. I hate tricky away fixtures 3 or 4 time-zones eastwards. So does Arsenal. 9 points usually seals top spot. 3 home wins, President Eboue has decreed.

  19. Love this time of year… people waking up realising… mmm… life in the world of football isn’t quite how I’d painted it throug the summer. I know it’s early doors and all that but… the mancs woke up today realising their one-man team is a prize prick, the spuds are waking up each morning this week to the realisation that they can’t beat Wigan at home… or Albion away… and they’re not nearly as good as they’d dreamt up they were. City are realising money can’t buy you love (although David Silva would make a stunning bridesmaid – thanks for that image, Darius). Liverpool (who I actually feel sorry for) have realised Hodgson is and always has been a pretty average manager – and no miracles are on the cards. And Gerrard is in actual, proper, steep decline.. not just an off season.

    And Arsenal fans are waking up thinking… Oo… not as bad as I was led to believe this. Jesus… Alex Ice Cream even came in here yesterday concededing we might take 2nd place this year! Ha! Only a matter of weeks, games and months before he sees the light. Great, great times.

    Arsenal…

  20. @indiangooner,

    That same article says

    The Ivorian international has become a hugely popular figure with the Arsenal fans having been booed from the pitch in November 2008 following a terrible cameo against Wigan Athletic. Viewed as something of a cult hero, after developing a post-match routine of handing his match shirt to supporters in the terraces

    What a piece of crock. We love Eboue because of the way he reacted after getting booed.

    Instead of feeling sorry for himself or throwing his toys out of the pram, he got his head down and worked hard to improve his game.

    Do they think we can be bought of with trinkets?

  21. Geo

    There is a press conference at lunchtime when the Diaby update is expected.

    YW

  22. Thanks, Indian Gooner. Those comments have set me up for the rest of the day. What a hero. Fucking love Eboue. If he’s taking a throw-in and we’re cruising, he’ll always have some jokes with the fans and do a trick or two. Excellent footballer. An ambassador of pure football for football’s sake.

  23. @wengerball,

    I excluded the other parts of the article for the same reason. Journos sometimes write what they think is right and not the actual truth.

    I love him for the way He worked hard and regained our love after the booing. He deserves the cult status he receives now.

    We’ve only come to see Eboouuueeeeee…

  24. Eboue = legend, you can’t keep a good guy with a clean heart down. And still a few call him clown on some blogs. Does he care? Why should he? He is in for a big, big season. Yes, he is now a senior player, loved and respected.

  25. .. and he speaks fluent Korean .. ha ha ha

  26. The status Eboue has in the team was evident when Theo scored his 3rd goal against Blackpool. Instead of celebrating with the players on the pitch, He ran to Eboue to celebrate.

    And when Song scored the 1000th goal on Saturday, It was Eboue with whom he celebrated first.

  27. Rosicky ran the width of the pitch after the game on Saturday to pick out someone who’d been giving him a lot of support down the right throughout the first half, and handed him his shirt. Another top professional and a fine example to the watching youngsters at the game.

  28. @1LC

    You call 2 goals in three games “not scoring..”

  29. Eboue is class, every performance for the last year or so has been excellent. I remember when he played beginning of last season at RM, then CM, then LM !!!! he played well in all 3 positions, scored a couple goals too, it was amazing.

    He is probably the best squad player in the league if I can even dare to call him that! he has the quality to get him into the majority of starting 11’s.

    I love seeing him on the pitch, he was very menacing with his inward runs from RB against Bolton too.

  30. @ZimPaul at 10:33,

    Spot on… He is a legend in my eyes..

  31. LA,

    Rosicky’s comment about ‘staying at Arsenal until Arsene wants him’ was the best I’ve heard from a professional footballer.

    It seems the Arsenal scouts not only check about players footballing skills before signing them. They must be checking the general behaviours too..

    We’ve some real gentlemen in the footballing world at the club…

  32. My team prediction for tomorrow:

    – – – – – – – – – Almunia – – – – – – – – – – –
    Sagna – Squilacci – Vermaelen – Clichy
    – – – Cesc – Song/Denilson – Nasri – – –
    Eboue – – – – Chamakh – – – – Arshavin

    Squilacci’s experience giving him another start, Vermaelen being restored to action while Koscielny gets a breather.

    Clichy and Sagna both getting back in the team.

    Rosicky getting a rest, but likely to feature for half an hour, while Eboue gets a more advanced role.

    The occasion may be a bit much in Wenger’s eyes for Wilshire, we need a win, and we need players who have done it before in the Champs league.

    Nasri back in the team will be a massive boost too if hes ready.

  33. ChrisGoona,

    Denilson will definitely start 2moro’s game.. These are ‘his’ kind of games.. The midfield trio may be my favourite combo: Song\Deni\Cesc.

  34. LA,

    “Rosicky ran the width of the pitch after the game on Saturday to pick out someone who’d been giving him a lot of support down the right throughout the first half, and handed him his shirt. Another top professional and a fine example to the watching youngsters at the game.”

    At the risk of sounding blond…who was that?

  35. Sorry, Maria – that should be ‘someone in the crowd’. He gave it to an Arsenal supporter.

    PS> Tried to start up ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Vela’ after your boy scored… noone actually joined in but a few people laughed. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to try it again on Wednesday night!

  36. President Eboue Dada is already a legend. This vid has alonedy had a million viewers on youtube.

  37. Absolutely, IG. You need ‘football intelligence’ as well as real intelligence to play for Arsenal these days – and then you learn the values of Arsenal. Bentley, Pennant, Ade – three of the thickest footballers we’ve had on our books – look what happened to them.

    7 languages Senderos breaks my trend… best not dwell on that.

  38. Even the N.Korean coach is laughing.

  39. To be quite honest I think the back four did more than enough to keep Clichy, Vermaelen and Sagna out on Wednesday… but I’d like to see our first choice full-backs start – and with something to prove now too. Personally I’d keep Squilly and Kos at the back and give Vermaelen a chance to rest his achilles properly. Why not? His replacement was strong, hungry to play well in front of his new fans, and experienced in Europe.

    Song/Denilson/Cesc in midfield – has to be! First choice midfield and our first chance to use it from the start.

    Up front is more tricky because the two I’d like to play either side of Baby-Cham are Vela and Arsh – but they’re both more suited to the left. If Nasri is fit to start then problem solved.

    Hope JET makes the bench.

  40. LA

    Apparently neither Diaby or Vermaelen were at training this morning.

    YW

  41. YW

    Where did you hear that from?

  42. Limpar

    I’d prefer Cesc / Song / Rosicky personally, but Rosicky could do with a rest I guess. So Denilson does look likely. I just think at home we should go a bit more attackingly. Song and Denilson in midfield doesn’t exactly restrict us, I am just thinking about the affect Nasri or a Rosicky could have if played next to Cesc in central midfield. While Song or Denilson mops up behind.

    Too exposed you think defensively?

  43. Chris

    John Cross of Daily Mirror on Twitter. This morning is an open training session before the assembled media.

    YW

  44. Can anyone confirm the time for the press conf? On the dotCom it says lunchtime. Does that mean 1:00pm UK Time?

  45. The President is dead, long live King Eboue. His words make my heart weep with joy. Surely he epitomises Wenger’s philosophy like none-before him.

  46. LA,
    You always have exceptions…

  47. Thanks YW

    Will be another huge loss if Diaby is indeed out for a spell.

  48. Ever wondered if managers really instruct players to kick Arsenal listen to this clip.

    http://t.co/T0nfGKm

    It’s Robbie Savage on “tactical fouling” including gems like:

    7,9 and 11 year olds should be taught to block off at corners and pull shirts.

    How to beat a more technically gifted team.

    What Mark Hughes said to his team when playing Arsenal

    and what happens if your cynical foul causes injury to another player.

  49. Big bad Al
    Sagna Skilly-the-M Vermalator Clichy
    Song
    Cesc Rosicky
    Eboue Chamakh Arsh

    … experience, before youth maybe, hell … how does one leave out Denilson, Nasri and Vela.

  50. What the hell do we do when the rest of the team get back?

    Here’s the team I want to see …

    Big bad Al
    Sagna Skilly-the-M Kos Clichy
    Song
    Cesc Denilson
    Eboue Chamakh Vela

  51. Here is a vid of Karl “the leg-breaker” Henry doing what he does best on Bobby Zamora. (This is the same animal who last year nearly snapped Rosicky’s shin and who deliberately left his studs on Theo’s calf after a cowardly tackle from behind:

    http://soccer-portal.org/cat/video/3070-karl-henry-tackle-on-bobby-zamora.html

  52. Here are some still shots of how Karl “the leg-breaker” Henry goes about his work. The remarkable thing is despite the photo evidence that Henry’s illegal clamping of Zamora’s lower leg using the notorious scissor’s tackle, there are plundits and football fans who still think this is a legitimate tackle.

  53. Jeez YW what a depressing post. I bet Bill loved it. How about some happy Euro memories tomorrow? Start with the Fairs Cup and work forward …

  54. BTW – The video and links to the jpeg files were all copied from an excellent piece at 7am Kick Off blog which did an expose on Karl Henry as the poster child of the dirty tackle. Like many of these animals, sent out by coaches to maim or intimidate better players, he is a coward who usually does his dirty work tackling from behind.
    My goal here is to encourage YW and other bloggers to link with bloggers and supporters of teams like Fulham and Newcastle who after suffering at the hands of these dirty players, are more willing to come out and deplore this type of football.

  55. Diaby out for Braga and Sunderland games. Wenger: I don’t know when he will be back. He has an ankle injury.

    According to dotCom on Twitter.

  56. steww

    Arsene said he felt bad about European failures. Just thought I’d let him know we feel worse…

    YW

  57. If more football fans complained to the BBC for giving platforms to cheats who actually promote foul play and are paid to do so – Savage on 606 springs to mind- something might actually be done.

    All we Brits here are license payers.

  58. Cheers for those links SG. What a lovely guy henry is… People who have a track record of those kind of challenges need to be exposed and punished. How many severe injuries does a player have to dish out before someone does something about it? Makes me so angry. If it were a foreigner, they’d be hung out to dry by our delightful media i’m sure…

  59. And i agree with cbob. Surely something can be done…?

  60. Haha! Nice one notlager 🙂

  61. I can still remember that horrible night and mine was worse because I’d woken up with that trepidation that we were going to lose. It had to do with our arrogant swagger. We were too good for Chelsea. But they had that tinker man Ranieri and Chelsea had the feeling of being in the last chance salon. That was their last chance to beat us. I knew they’d play with a little more ambition than us. Of course at such times you always hope that you’re proved wrong. But it wasn’t to be. But it’s that usual rule about success. The time you are most confident is also the most dangerous moment!

  62. cbob @ 12:40 pm has rightly challenged the Brits on this blog to take some action. It is my understanding that nowhere in the British press can you find a vid of Henry’s assault on Zamora. This is shameful, a cover-up that is as bad as any, Watergate included. Why? Thanks to Icelandic Gooner at 7:00 am Kick Off I could post the vid above. The role of the Bristish media in covering-up, condoning or sweeping this type of anti-football under the carpet is reprehensible.

  63. Savage was signed up for ‘shock-jock’ value to get the phonelines ringing… lowering 606 to the lowest common denominator i.e. talkshite.

    It worked too. One of his first callers phoned in with the sole purpose of calling him a disgrace to the game of football. It was entertaining… for about ten seconds. It’s bewildering to think they’d actually keep him there for any length of time. People will just start switching off. His whole being is just so nauseating.

    But if it will help… I’ll put it in writing too.

    I have great memories of listening to that show on the way back from football. I won’t listen much longer if he stays, and whole generations will grow up without it cos their dads will switch off too.

  64. I just want to thank you all in advance for your support tonight. Us Londoners have to stick together, everyones always out to get us but together we are strong, and you know this.

  65. Hahahahahahahahaha! James, you have an excellent wit!

    Sorry, but my dedication to the ABS is solid dude

  66. Sorry James, but i’m with Gadget on this one. Normally i’m all for Laaandaners sticking together, but it’s impossible in this instance… And you know this.

  67. Pavlyuchenko to Huddlestone: “Werder f*ck are we?”
    Huddlestone to Pavlyuchenko: “No, Pav. They’re Werder. And we’re about to get f*cked.”
    Pav (panicking): “But… where der f*ck are we?”
    Gomes (clasping him between his dodgy thighs): “Noone knows Pav! We’re completely f*cking lost. First we got beat by children… in Thun, and then we got booed at home against Wigan, and then they booed us again in the midlands… Noone f*cking knows anymore!”
    Huddlestone: “Oh god…. what’s that music.?? I’ve heard this on TV before….
    Gomes: “Peter? Crouchy? You can’t do that here… you’re on tv, Peter! Noooo”

  68. Anyway like I was saying, thanks for the support………

  69. hahahaha Limpar! I take it this is a direct transcript of today’s events in Germany? ;-p

  70. I do think that this business with Savage and the approach of the BBC to promoting cheating is an issue that they can be properly challenged on.

    It’s not just a question of pundits views, which they would argue are just opinions, nor are they invulnerable to being challenged by their audience, which perhaps SKY are. There is a new Government in town and the BBC are already in their sights. They ARE actually supposed to have standards.

    Nor should we be complaining as ‘partisan’ Arsenal fans but as football supporters concerned with the effect that ‘savagery’ could have on our game and our children.

    It might at least piss Savage off.

  71. I’ve complained to the BBC:

    I’m not entirely sure if the quality of your football punditry has always been this terrible, but I’m really noticing it now.

    I think this reached its peak with the world cup. The hypocrisy by your pundits was no less than staggering. Holland played physically and were rightly lambasted for it, however, their method was no worse than any team under Allardyce & he has yet to be criticised for being such a keen advocate of this.

    This weekend just gone, anyone privy to extended highlights (or perhaps, dare I say, a more impartial service) would have witnessed a physicality to rival, if not surpass, that of Holland in Bolton’s match against Arsenal. However, such glaring physicality was entirely absent from your highlights on Match of the Day, and not even discussed by your pundits.

    In case you missed these incidents:
    1) Kevin Davies goes for one of the most reckless headers I’ve seen, and in doing so paid little regard for the safety of Koscielny.

    2) Robinson’s challenge on Diaby. High, over the ball, studs up, and infinitly worse than Cahill on Chamakh. Again, little regard for the safety of his opponent.

    If these incidents were shown, in conjunction to that horrible challenge on Bobby Zamora, they would have lended themselves to a discussion and exploration of the quality of challenges in and the prevailing philosophies of the Premier League.

    Unfortunately, the only discussion took place on 606, where the aptly named Robbie Savage declared that children learning football should taught how to foul. Part of the game he called it.

    I maybe naiive, but I don’t think I need to explain why Savage has a shocking point of view.

    My honest thoughts on this matter is this: you are the British Broadcasting Corporation. You have a duty, a responsibilty, to show us the good and the bad, and help us explain to the impressionable why the bad is bad and the good is good. If you are only showing the good, but not the bad, firstly you are not presenting a fair and honest picture to the nation, and secondly, you are implicitly approving rotten behaviour.

    You are failing.

    Do better.

    It’ll probably fall upon deaf ears

  72. Alright James, you’ve twisted my arm, tonight I’ll support Spurs…

    and hope you get knocked out so Bale can get me more points for my fantasy football team. Seriously, I’m languishing at the bottom of the table. It’ doing terrible things to my ego.

  73. I know too many spurs fans, what a bunch of twats. the next couple of weeks should be hilarious. they are already suffering from euro hangovers after playing a bunch of swiss young boys just a stones throw away. I hope they go gun blazing like a bunch of tactical plebs and get their arses handed to them by bremen.

    Harrys team selection against us in the carling cup should be a laugh also, whether its full strength or the youngsters they are going to be annihilated by wengerball. should mark the beginning of the end of their season once they realise they are simply out of their league to be competing with the big boys. deluded wannabes who never learn.

  74. word

    I don’t wanna laugh at Spurs just yet, or have a dig at them, but I do believe in everything you just stated.

    They are certainly out of their depth, many players not playing in the Champs League, just about getting 4th in the Premiership, a manager with the tactical and managament abilities of a 5 year old.

    On top of that they have lost a couple players and you can sense the panic already, its quite funny as they have always taken the piss out of us for our moaning. I can only see humiliation for Spurs in the Champs League, while it will also put to bed any chance of getting a 4th place finish in the Premiership again ( if they had one )

  75. Pre-Braga training session photo:

    Check out this photo(pic 14). My picture of the day…

  76. Maria,
    which pic of the list? The link you sent opens the article with the picture slideshow..

  77. A couple months back, on my Pro Master league, I had to play Tottenham in the Champ League final. I found it to be a most shocking insult that could only be tempered by victory. 8-0 provided the most satisfaction my xbox has ever given.

    Almost rivalled Cesc’s gioal against them last season

  78. Oh my bad,

    Picture 9.

  79. Cesc looks very composed and determined, you just wonder what is going through his head at times. As long as he keeps performing we can only be happy I suppose… just a bit quiet lately as he has stayed away from the media

  80. Bolton defender Gary Cahill’s claim for wrongful dismissal has been dismissed.

    As a result, Cahill’s three match suspension will remain and will be served with immediate effect.

    The bastard should have got an additional game for a frivolous appeal.

  81. I hate that goal, as I never really got to enjoy it. I was out the room and had jumped into the pool by the time the goal was scored. Cesc is to fast by half.

    Stupid me eeh.

  82. CG,

    He also looks happy enough at training.

  83. Maria, AA looks very funny in that picture..

  84. No he hasn’t been quiet you ill-informed buttplunger.

    Get your facts straight before you post on here.

  85. Cesc looks more determined to me like a man on mission.

  86. Just trying to see if I recognized any Braga players –

    They have Hugo Viana – he used to play for Newcastle I think. There’s also a guy called George Lucas…

    Actually that reminds me of the funny name thing from a year back. There’s a young player at Sampdoria called Mattia Mustacchio, which I thought was quite a good one.

    Quim is also back at Braga now, but we won’t go into that one.

  87. Oh and good point about Shawcross and Cahill yesterday, RO and Dups.

  88. I heard that their little Arsenal of Protugal.

    As heard they had around 15 Brazilians in their squad!!

  89. They are called Arsenal do Minho, their youth team is Arsenal do Braga and the fans are known as Arsenalistas.

    I watched their games against Sevilla, they were OK but it was more a case of Sevilla not being ready, and maybe underestimating them.

  90. When was the last time we had Nasri and Fabregas available to start a game together? Seems like ages. Add Denilson to that list too. I think we’ll be very strong on Wednesday.

  91. “It’s not just a question of pundits views, which they would argue are just opinions, nor are they invulnerable to being challenged by their audience, which perhaps SKY are. There is a new Government in town and the BBC are already in their sights. They ARE actually supposed to have standards.”

    I’ll always defend the BBC against their natural enemies……particularly Murdoch Snr (and Jr), the Tories et al. That’s a debate for another day and/or blog. They do make it increasingly bloody difficult though. The Savage comments were typical of the individual (or f*ckwit if you prefer) concerned…I guess by expressing such odious “opinions” the phone lines start lighting up and mild controversy and a contrived “debate” ensues. Job done. It’s a shame the BBC have allowed their standards to decline so rapidly that they employ such people in the first place, and use cynical ratings tactics worthy of the worst kind of commercial stations (hello Talkshite). Sign of the times.

    Anyway…good to see Cahill will serve out his suspension. To appeal that in the first place says it all. It should be doubled and the club served with a hefty fine as well.

  92. Braga are known as Arsenalistas. didn’t know that
    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/braga-arsenal

    Rinseout- is that Cesc’s official twitter thing?

  93. I think it is 1lc…

  94. 1lc, it is Cesc’s official account.. His sister approved it..

  95. If Robbie Savage had ever been good enough to play in the Champions League, he might have been instructed by his managers, with the aid of their Homo Erectus Handbook, to ‘take the legs’ out from under the Braga No.99.

    Not a good idea.

    I’ve linked these Braga vs. Celtic highlights before, but worth looking at again.

  96. 1lc – yep!

  97. I think we’re going to dominate tomorrow. The complacency that we’ve seen before seems to have reduced at least, and that, coupled with our new found determination and guile will stand us in good stead, not just for Braga but the whole season. With our adaptable squad i dont think it’s unrealistic to aim for champions league victory this year…

    I’m looking forward to seeing Nasri back and Arsh making up for all those missed chances last weekend. And a clean sheet for Manuel would do nicely.

  98. Had to watch that Vela goal over and over last night – couldn’t get enough of it! Song’s cheeky effort was a beautiful way to cap our 1000 Wengergoals too.

  99. I understand how the London Underground can hold everyone to ransom as they are doing, because they actually have the keys to something we all need to get around the place and work and live our lives… but the BBC… how the fuck are they going to strike? Their bargaining chip is a piece of shit. If you turn the telly on and there’s nothing coming out of it – go out, have a conversation, or pick up a book… your life will be better for it. Yes, you might miss Wallander or whatever but chances are all you miss is some poorly written, over-acted, under-produced piece of arse. Fuck ’em. Don’t negotiate with terrorists.

  100. Wow…so much good stuff today. Limpar at 10:22 – just excellent and wonderful stuff from IndianGonner as well. Thanks for the audio clip wengerball…that was great.

    Karl Henry is a thug…has been for a while. He claims that he’s not sent out to ‘do’ another player but that’s just more than can be believed really. Robinson is the same. We all watch the games week in and week out. It’s not just against us. These teams and these players in particular are coached to do what they do. Henry simply leveled Joey Barton a good 4 or 5 times, and Mick Mcarthy had the nerve to sit there with his little half grin and pretend that they hadn’t specifically targeted Barton to wind him up and get him sent off. Barton called Mcarthy on after the game. Now lord knows I’ve no love for Joey Barton who’s a prime thug himself, but it makes the tactics no better just because Barton may have deserved it.

    If the truth was told, most of the teams in the Prem…top teams included, have an ‘enforcer’; most teams will resort to cynicism when they are in trouble…and most teams will resort to the worst cheating/borderline tactics when they are being technically outclassed.

  101. who is 1st GK from the left in Pic 4??

  102. I would like Spurs to scrape through, keep the mounting pressure on their EPL credentials. As for the rest of the EPL mob, may they fall and fail with gnashing of teeth and sobs on Sky.

  103. Zimpaul, Limpar, Chris
    If i am not wrong, we have never started a game with Cesc & Nasri/Rosicky (unless in crises).
    Its more likely to be Song Cesc Deni.
    I would want to rest Cesc for this one & give Samir a go. Would have loved to rest Song as well but his backups are injured i think

  104. mj – think it’s James Shea.

  105. I thought that might be a lesser spotted Arsenal goalkeeping coach. Looks older than James Shea.

    mj,

    Cesc is just getting into full flow. Another game will be good for him. Let’s unleash him on all of Europe! No need in wrapping these players up in cotton wool. Cesc is very strong now.

  106. Anyone see that Jay Z is actually looking to be an Arsenal shareholder and wants a seat on the board…Don’t know if that is good or bad, but definitely interesting.

  107. yep, thats certainly not Shae, this guy is blonde!

    LA, I am a bit concerned for the weekend’s game. I know we are stronger this time, but so are Sunderland. Plus I am too wary of that Gyan-fellow, he’d be a real handfull for our CBs, along with Bent. On top of that we we’ll be missing our biggest physical threat in midfield.

  108. What was Diaby’s injury?

  109. Shawcross, Henry, Cattermole, Gardner, Davies, Robinson – all limited jobsworth English players / bullies , thugs.

    They wouldn`t get near a top club

  110. Achilles

  111. Ankle*

  112. Limpar, Cesc has been so good for such a long time that we tend to forget that he’s 23 and still improving. Now that he’s a Euro and World cup champion his confidence must be through the roof.

  113. Thanks, MJ. Diaby was expected to have a scan. Any news on that?

  114. Something absolutely shocking took place today! The jokers at Le Grove have finally caught onto the Wenger revolution. Wonders never cease!

  115. And people wonder why we have more than our fair share of injuries…with tackles like the one Robinson put in its surprising half of our team doesn’t have broken legs.

  116. GB – arsene said he will definitely miss the next 2, no news about the exact length of time.
    & those MUGS at Sky have posted an article thinking that it gonna be JUST 2 games.
    ‘Relief over Diaby injury’
    Fools

  117. true, viceologist, but why its doesnt happen to pool, chelski or manure will always be a mystery

  118. Because if it happens to them there will be a national ourtcry over it. Diaby is just another Wenger Frenchie, so who is going to stand up and support him…sad really…

  119. Tackling debate on Talksport red for Cahill was red they agree. Adrian speaking sense for once.

  120. now this would be funny-

    http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11670_6375585,00.html

    My best wishes with Silvestre. I would become his biggest fan if he proves Arsene wrong, in this game.

  121. Oh no now the robinson tackle was clean.

  122. His actucally blaming Diaby now. Bastard.

  123. off topic but who else thinks coach trip is by far the most shit programme out there, damn its so stupid…

  124. Fooled you, Maria!

  125. He did Bob. Damn him.

  126. Zap – my wife and daughter lap it up, what a strange programme it is.

  127. What is coach trip?

  128. c’bob
    It’s a kind of weird gamed show where two people (couples mates whatever) join others on a coach touring Europe and then get to vote each other off at the end of a day visiting German Breweries or Swiss Cheese plants or whatever.,It features an odd tour guide and lots of silly self conscious staged arguments and tears.

  129. I really like Bacary Sagna’s green leather jacket.

  130. steww said ch**se!

    steww – what sort of speed is the coach travelling at when the contestants get thrown off?

  131. What the hell is old red nose doing?

  132. Sneezing?

  133. Rangers are not to be sneezed at, Alex.

  134. tottenham 1 – 0 own goal it says???

  135. Old ruby red nose Fergie may have been dipping in the Scotch before he made out that line up. Hope Rangers show him not to take them lightly.

    Spuds up 2 – 0

  136. Silvestre was shit when we bought him two years ago hes not going to get better is he?

  137. Twente is up 2 -1 over Inter. Rafa is not “the special one”.

  138. Spuds 2-1

    Inter 2-2

  139. Spuds 2 – 1 Bremen. Its all happening in the group of shite.

  140. 2004 should have had our name on the CL trophy.Losing to Chelski was worse than the Barcelona defeat in the final.At least Barca had world class players Chelski had Hilario in goal FFS

  141. Sorry my mistake it was Ambrosio in goal for the Chavs.He was still shit though

  142. …..and they fucked it up….

  143. HAHAHA SPUDS!! ‘Appy ‘Arry is going to have to wheel and deal again to cover for this terrible performance ! 2-0 up ?!!! now 2-2!

  144. 2-2 bremen

  145. bremen show a poor example of themselves in the first half but ekotto fucked it with 2 naive laspes in concentration. half time oranges seem to have done the trick… this should get more enjoyable from here! (touch wood and all that!)

    COYB!

  146. Reserve league, Man Citeh 1 – Arsenal 1 FT

  147. i might have jinxed united today. Apparently, anotnio valencia is suspected to have suffered a broken ankle.

  148. If Antonio Valencia is out for a long time it will test their squad depth.

  149. it reduces double-digits assists for the season for them. Although, feel bad for him..

  150. Interesting take on the match up tomorrow.

    http://arsespeak.com/

  151. dups, really?

  152. Duke, perhaps I should have made it a bit clearer.

    “If Antonio Valencia is out for a long time it will test their (so called) squad depth.”

  153. What has Valencia ever done???? except whip in a couple ol good crosses.

  154. But who do you replace him with? Giggs cannot play all season and Nani is….

  155. Duke,
    they always manage to socre off those ‘couple of goog crosses’

  156. That Marin guy looks great for Werder. Like an Oezil clone, but right-footed.

  157. mj, if i wasnt pissed id think your spelling was shite!

  158. relying on nani for long periods of time is bound to have repercussions, isn’t he mostly left footed?

    might see park on the right but hardly ideal

    shame tho, always liked valencias quiet commitment and accuracy. never nice to see these types of injuries.

  159. Any score updates?

  160. pardon me mate

  161. yeah marin looks destined for a good old tapping up in a few years. reminds me of modric

  162. its FT everywhere,

    bremen 2-2 spuds
    barca 5-1 pana
    twente 2-2 inter
    manure 0-0 ranger

    It really is group of Shit

  163. spurs got a bit lucky there, everyone in their group scored 2 goals so back to square one.

  164. Not a good result for manure.

  165. dups you fell for it, maria is just playing with ya, she wants some interaction, how hard is it to get the scores up.

  166. it looks like hard days ahead for Red Nose.. they look ordinary, esp away from home..

  167. Thanks guys.

    Deedee,

    Jealous much?

  168. Valencia’s broken ankle was purely accidental. Broadfoot landed on his leg and Snap! Quite like the guy, him having been an ex-Wigan player, but perhaps our supporters should sing a couple of songs about him just like the Manure supporters sang for Eduardo?

    Utd. held by Rangers 0-0. I like the look of Maurice Edu. He did well tonight defensively. With a good team around him I think he could do really well.

  169. have been spewing a lot of contempt for spurs today but one victory I would grant them is topping man u in the league.

  170. Word.

    Only if Man U come 19th or lower.

  171. H’mmm!
    ManU draw with Rangers.
    Valencia injured.
    Even more reliant on two pensioners to carry them through.
    H’mmm!

  172. dont do jelous Maria, wasted emotion.

  173. Very poetic, Duke. You sound deep.

  174. let me re-phrase: the only team id like to see spurs beat is man u – so fergie knows even our wanabe disabled neighbour wipes his arse with uniteds best.

  175. Valencia injury was a pure accident.No one wants to see any player suffer a bad injury like that

    Bremen will be kicking themselves they had enough chances to win in the 2nd half

  176. I agree G79, I still have a soft spot for Valcenia from those days.

    I was for me, SHOCKING upet on the news of a Manc getting injured.

    Personally, I think that we as supporters of the PL are all coming togather collectively in the fight against violence. Only while in the past that was concentrated in the stands, now it’s violence within the game itself that must be erased.

    Sotta’s words today really strikes a cord now.

  177. I expect them to drop points against pool this weekend, even at home

  178. Seems like good news for Abou..

    ”I will miss our first game in the Champions League but to be honest I am lucky to only miss two or three games, I really thought I would be out for a long time,” Diaby said.

    “Bolton is a very physical team and to be honest the tackle was a strong one, but it is Premier League football, people are committed, so it is fine for me.

    “I hope the team start the Champions League with a victory, the first game in any competition is always very important.”

    not on the official site yet

  179. who is sotta? is that shotta’s not so hard brother.

  180. Duke – Shotta has mellowed into sotta.
    It must be the dreads. LOL.

  181. Good comment from Diaby.

    Maria, not all supporters are alike. I still remember the Mancs having a go at Eduardo after he broke his leg two seasons ago. I’m afraid that until a Manc or a Chav player gets his leg split in two no pressure to stop the violence will come from either club.

  182. if this doesnt fill you with pride for our club i dont know what will.

    “”There’s only Arsenal. Err, wait a minute…
    Braga used to wear green and white, like Sporting Lisbon who they were kind of named after. But their Hungarian coach Jozef Szabo was so impressed by Arsenal on a trip to Highbury in the 1920s he remodelled the club on his return to Portugal, Braga adopted Arsenal’s red and white kit, named their youth team the Arsenal of Braga and unsurprisingly became known as the Arsenalistas.

    Szabo isn’t the only football aficionado to be inspired by Arsenal. In a province of Buenos Aires in 1957, brothers Hector and Julio Grondona launched a club called Arsenal de Sarandi. And let’s not forget Arsenal Maseru (who, coincidentally won the Lesotho title in 1989 and 1991, the same years George Graham’s Gunners won the league), Arsenal Kharkiv and Arsenal Kyiv (in the Ukraine), Arsenal (Honduras), amateur club Arsenal-Tula (Russia), Berekum Arsenal (Ghana), Arsenal Wanderers (Mauritius), FK Arsenal (Montenegro) and Arsenal Kragujevac (Serbia).

    Not sure why Arsenal inspire so many clones. Many clubs have one doppelganger – Everton in Chile, Manchester United in Gibraltar, even Liverpool in Montevideo – Arsenal have lots of them. It may be as simple as the fact that Arsenal have always felt like part of the football establishment and, even as far back as the 1920s, people from within the game who visited them came away with feeling that that was a proper football club ought to be like.

    This week two Arsenals clash in Group H. Although Arsene Wenger’s team should top the group, Braga’s demolition of Sevilla away from home in the play-off round was far more emphatic than the 4-3 scoreline might suggest.

    If Wenger is right – and his team are now equipped to win this tournament – they will want all three points. But Braga pose more of an attacking threat than Sporting Lisbon who have perennially flattered to deceive in the group stages.

    Brazilian striker Lima’s hat-trick defeated Sevilla, but his countryman Matheus is as much of a threat. Fast, mobile, with a knack for scoring crucial goals, the 27-year-old will be encouraged by the DVD of Arsenal’s defensive lapses against Bolton. “”

  183. Sad to see Valencia suffer an awful injury. Its curtains for Man United now as Valencia has been a very accurate crosser. 12 is only his direct number of assists. Having watched him consistently last season I feel his crosses indirectly led to much more goals than that. United will surely suffer.


  184. Limpar glad u liked the song of the Lithuania game 😉
    and another class act by Rosicky, he freakin sent me a signed shirt for making these videos 🙂 now how can u NOT like him more than Hleb 😉

    on another note, sorry I went back to Rock music lol 😛

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