Stone Cold Friday: The Different Shades Of Arsenal’s Success

It would be tempting to continue crow about the victory at The Lane. Instead Darius is here to talk sense…Who am I kidding. He’s lifted his boot and planted it firmly on their heads, pushing their faces further into the sand. But he has bigger feet than most of us and has got every other club down there with them…

Undertaking an arduous and challenging journey of growth and development can consume us, making it difficult to even recognise what success looks like any more. Losing that sense of perspective, clouds context and tests the boundaries of disillusionment.

This week in my view has been a very important milestone in football, one that draws a clear marker of Arsenal’s continuing success on and off the field. Some would have you believe that trophies are the only measure of success. By definition, that renders 85 of the 92 professional clubs in England and Wales as failures each season.

Those consumed by this tunnel-visioned approach miss the multi-dimensional nature of football and its impact to communities around the world. Arsenal is often beaten with the “they haven’t won a trophy for 5 seasons” stick, implying a simplistic assumption of failure, a club that supposedly hasn’t been able to build from its historic success of the 2003-04 season.

This week provided a tangible illustration of how such a school of thought is way off the mark. Slowly but surely, it’s clearer to see that the trail that Arsenal has blazed is shaping the approach to the development of football through youth in the top echelons in the country.

For several years now, Arsenal has been roundly criticised for allegedly showing disdain and disrespect to the League Cup by fielding teams that some observers called the “London Colney Kindergarten”. It has taken courage on our part to stick to this strategy and to use the competition to blood younger players.

By his own admission, Wenger ranks this as his lowest priority. It is a competition which if we fielded our strongest team, we would have a chance of winning year in, year out. Many fail to see the merits of going 5 years without a trophy, yet the League Cup is fair game.

In recent times it has gone unnoticed that Premier league teams are now widely using the League Cup to blood young players and to test the strength of their second string sides. Selective amnesia when it comes to Arsenal?

This is a direct legacy of Arsenal’s continued approach of using this competition to support their youth development programme. The key lesson here is directly related to the stability and longevity of football clubs in today’s economy.

The days of living beyond your means are over and clubs are desperate to be in a position their youth systems are a viable strategy to squad development. Some managers were quick to berate Wenger for persisting with the policy of using the League Cup for his young charges. Their envy is driven by the reality that cheque book management is no longer an option.

That Arsenal can make 9 changes to its preferred Premier league squad, as well as not having 7 key players available because of injury, is nothing short of remarkable. It highlights the squad’s strength in depth.

It was bemusing to hear claims from hacks and pundits that Arsene is finally taking the League Cup seriously. Allegedly, he recognises that we cannot go on without a trophy so the League Cup will have to do. Nonsense!

For one, bragging rights were at stake. Wenger and the team knew this. More importantly, the reality that our second string team is that strong is testament to the hard work that has been going on for years. Arsenal hasn’t got here by accident; it’s a tangible illustration of the benefits of the youth development approach. The important thing to appreciate is that this is only the beginning, that there is a production line ready to unleash Wengerball clones fit for purpose for years to come.

Also in this week, Arsenal are set to announce record profits for the last trading year, in conjunction with the repayment of the debts related to the Highbury square development. The mortgage for the stadium is all that remains, and repayments for this are covered by organic income from our activities.

Some have argued that we should use this windfall exclusively to bring in marquee players to the team, but this has never been and will never be Arsène’s style. Saying that, year on year, the resources available for squad development whether internally or by strategic transfers to augment the current team, will continue to grow.

This year alone, regardless of the amount used in transfer fees, the players who have been brought in seem to be adding that bite to the team that was a recognised deficiency. And we didn’t have to break the bank to do that.

Comparing this with the performances of teams this week like Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton – and most other EPL teams – it’s clear to see that Arsenal’s youth development programme is paying massive dividends now and also for the future.

Even though it has become fashionable to now use the Carling cup to develop the youth – it’s painful to watch how woefully inadequate the 2nd and 3rd string teams are for most top clubs. Not only do they now face the prospect of having to build their squads by incorporating underprepared youth, they are not going to have the resources of previous years to buy ready-made players off the shelf.

Arsenal by contrast, has an increasingly strong squad built from within the ranks and augmented by external signings. It’s clear for all to see that we will continue to have the necessary financial resources to develop the club in all areas – not just the squad.

The trophies will come, but for now, it’s important to take a step back and recognise the significant milestones that have occurred, all of which illustrate the success that Arsenal has achieved over the years. Whether it’s recognised by the establishment or not, the performances of the top teams in this Carling cup week is a tangible illustration that Arsenal like it has done many times, is leading the way, and others are begrudgingly following.

The future’s bright, the future’s red and white.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on September 24, 2010, in Arsenal, Carling Cup, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 312 Comments.

  1. Most excellent post Darius.

    You’re quite right to point out the inadequacy of the other teams’ second and third strings. Looking back on it, you realise just how difficult it was to compete in the Carling Cup with the kindergaten kids.

    There is a huge chasm between the quality of our youth and the others, and here we were told that project youth has failed.

  2. Nice article Darius. Your mentioning of the squad depth particulalry good. I find it very satisfying that we have played our “kids” for god knows how long now in th CC, knocking out PL clubs as we go.

    This year more of the top clubs took that approach, and just look what happened. Chelsea and Liverpool both knocked out. Our squad depth is without doubt very impressive, and will sustain us through the season IMO. As things stand we will not even have to entertain the Jan Transfer window madness.

  3. Sock it to Um Soul Brother!

  4. Great article Darius.

    We can be proud of our club and be confident about our future.

  5. Now we only need someone who’s able to figure out how to get decent GKs and CBs from our youth system. It’s occurred to me that in all of the Wenger years, he hasn’t been able to buy/scout/groom a decent young keep or centerback into a first team regular.
    Some examples are Rami Shabaan, Stuart Taylor, Fabianski, Richard Wright (i cant recall how old he was) and Sendros, Upson. So hopefully Wenger from now on will just spend good money on those positions because further up the field there really looks like there are good promising players that will make the grade in the coming years.

  6. I think Bartley is well thought of at the club, and is certainly doing well out on loan. Big lad as well.

  7. Also Tech9.

  8. On this issue – one of the fascinating things for me is the fact that the establishment in general is slow to pick up on how far Arsenal has come over the years.

    In fairness also, managers of other teams have picked up on the need to change their approach, albeit their starting at least 8 years behind Arsenal.

    I remember after Wenger fielded a team without a single English player against Crystal Palace – he got a baptism of fire from the English media. Courage to the man for taking the issue head on and bluntly insisting that he was not going to be pressured to pay above the odds for English players who are not worth the price tag artificially planted on them.

    Arsene did also categorically state that if he can’t find the players he wants on the market, he will develop them himself, and this fact has been widely ignored for so long, it has made Wenger be portrayed as the enemy of English football.

    In contrast, look at the work Wenger has done with young English talent from the age of 10 – most of who are coming to the fore now – from Li’l Jack Willy to Afobe and Chucks – to JET, Frimpong and Lansbury, and Also Gibbs who seems to now be a shoe-in to replace Cashley as England left back.

    Out of the 2008-09 team that won the youth league and FA cup double – at least 12 players in that squad are English. The irony here is that for all the grief that Wenger has got for years for choosing this approach – you really don’t need to look further than London Colney for the future of the England team for years to come.

  9. One of my work colleagues is a Spud supporter who claims that we cheated by not putting out a team of kids to match theirs.
    As you said, our kids all have experience now. The average age of the team playing on Tuesday night must have still been very young, but all of them have played at Premiership level because the teams we have put out in the Carling Cup over the past few years have been able to gain the necessary first team experience early in their careers. That said, it still wasn’t great to see a team of youngsters take a battering from Spurs a couple of years ago, but the youngsters that played that night would certainly give Spurs a shoeing now.
    My one disappointment is over the goalkeeper situation in the CC, surely we should be giving Szczesny and Mannone a chance in the Carling Cup?


    Jesus, that is ridiculous.

    Heh, he seems perfect for us. He has a history of injuries already.

  11. Gunner From Nigeria

    Its impossible for the blind to see the light. In this instance the blindness of bankruptcy. It would only take an ethereal laying of hands for them to see the light. However, before they do, Arsenal would have reached its zenith of total domination.
    I love this club

  12. Best post I’ve read all week… apart from my own… :o)

    Couldn’t agree more. People kept saying “Ooh, Arsenal have put a strong side out tonight… many 2nd team players in there”

    They didn’t get it. We don’t have 2nd team players anymore. We have one huge group of 1st team players with a reserve team acting as the development area – or academy as they say.

    We can now field a second string first team that has experience in all competitions and which plays the exact same way as the 1st team.

    We shouldn’t forget the blend of football that our players have been trained to play. That makes it easier for new players to come in as they learn a “method” that they can see in others already playing.

  13. We shouldn’t be surprised if a much more ‘kindergarten’ team gets picked if we’re drawn at home in the next round to, say, Brentford. Maybe even if the game is away. But the principle in Darius’s piece remains correct – Wenger never puts out a team designed to lose and the selections in the past have created the strength in depth that people are so surprised to see now.
    It’s interesting to hear Harry Redknapp attempt to take positives from the game by saying he picked reserves in order to give them ‘experience of a proper game’ If they hadn’t pulled out of the reserve league (money problems?) they’d be getting such games every week!
    You reap what you sow.

  14. Best post all categories this season. Agree whith every word. Many fans and the media don’t look at the big picture and only focus on the fact that we havent won any trophy in 5 years. There are so many more variables you have to look at when you measure success.
    Arsenal is the best run club in the world, by far, and thats a great success in my book. And the best part of it is that the way the club is run will generate many, many “trophys” in the years to come.

  15. A couple of weeks ago, Arsenal were repeatedly accused of ridiculing the new regulations on squads put in place in PL and CL. We can now see that as many of have said for years, Arsenal is a project that will come to fruition. It may not happen this year but within 3 years, Arsenal will win trophies – in plural because of the financial restrictions that will severely hamper most clubs when the need to strengthen their squads. We will be almost debt free – at least with a very manageable payment plan, modern training facilities, a top class, new stadium, a youth set up second to none in England, rivaled only by Barca and Ajax in Europe.
    The only negative spot in the horizon is that Arsene may not want to stay as manager beyond 2014.

  16. Darius,
    Fine post. It has taken quite a while but even some of media-led, unable-to-think-for-themselves, naysaying doommongers are beginning to see the bigger picture. Spending your way out of a problem can only last for so long. As a result of the last 5 years redevelopment programme, we are now significantly ahead of most other clubs in the country in terms of finance and equally imprtantly in term,s of team strength. The former will continue to give us the ability to develop the latter into the future, whereas this path will not be available to most if not all other clubs. Perhaps now some of the fools who have spent the last few years moaning about lack of spending might understand the concept of strategy and see that finance and football are inextricably linked. A naive hope no doubt but we can dream.
    Keep up the good work, sir.

  17. articulate piece of work Darius
    ‘..production line ready to unleash wengerball clones fit for purpose for years to come!’..couldnt agree more.Gooner for life

  18. Wenger is a visionary. Visionaries are normally misunderstood before the coming to fruition of their vision. What he saw many years ago sitting down, many managers could not see standing on top of their mountains of pride. Now, it is becoming clear that he charted the right course that football should follow to get out of the delusion of splash-the-cash. Instead of starting to give him the credit due him, they are finding ways to explain his success. For instance, the emergence of Wilshire is being attributed to the half a season loan he had at Bolton. The eulogies may come late, but they will come. The idea his has courageously birthed will sanitize football and help clubs to live within their means.
    I was amazed when I looked at our players that did not start the Tottenham game. Just take a look:-
    Sagna, Squillaci, Vermualen, Clichy
    Song, Fabragas, Diaby
    Walcott, Bendtner, Van persie.

    Is this not our first eleven? It is laughable that the tots said that we did not use reserve team. Lol.

  19. Excellent post Darius

  20. Gunner from Nigeria…
    My brother, you took the words right out of my fingers. It will take a miracle for these media whacks to see Arsene’s light. Wenger has laid down the manuscript for others to follow.
    Now they claim AW is finally taking the CC seriously..
    Anyway, by the time they realise their short comings, The Arsenal will be light years ahead of them with haul after haul of trophies..
    Looking forward to a total annihilation of W. Brom


    Interesting comments by Manchini. Having a “winning mentality” is essential for a top team. We may have fallen slightly short in this area for the past few years, and that has been one of our major issues I feel.

    However, I do not see any signs of that this year. The new maturity within the group seems to have also brought about a new determined attitude.

  22. 100% Darius. Utterly flawless, unimpeachable logic. Perfection. A* etc

  23. Good piece Darius. Many good points as always.

    I have to admit to feeling rather smug just lately. Im sure its not unusual for many of us Gooners to get a fair amount of stick from the fans of other less classy establishments with regards to our lack of ‘Englishness’, suddenly however it is more envious comments I’m hearing now. Some even feel we should have offloaded Cesc and replaced him with Jack, but of course that would be missing the point, for Jack is learning his trade from his captain. Gibbs and Lansbury have raised a few eyebrows this week too. So when I wax lyrical proudly about the other England ‘stars of the future’ were incubating they are suddenly sitting up and listening.

    The future is bright, it is indeed red n white.

  24. Craig the Scotish Gooner

    Good post Darius

    The only weakness in our squad is the hapless Fabianski.We are in big trouble if Almunia gets injured.Szczseny should be number 2 to Almunia NOW

  25. One day we will read a piece like this in the mainstream media. One day hell will freeze ove.

    It also occurs to me that we will be preoducing a surplus of very good players which will doubtless be sold to those clubs who do not develope their own talent adequately.

    More money in the pot to fill any gaps in our development programme.

  26. Absolutely agree, Darius.

    Fiscal results out today so we’re sure to get a bunch of people on saying “…but we’re minted, why didn’t we buy a keeper?!” – oh no wait, our keeper looks rock solid. “…Well… we should’ve splashed it on a defensive midfielder then… another Alex Song would do nicely…” – Oh no wait we’ve already got player congestion in midfield even with Ramsey, Fabs and Rosicky injured. Wilshere is a revelation and Denilson is bossing the show. What the fuck would another midfielder do? “…Then another striker surely….” – oh no wait we already bought one of those and he’s averaging almost a goal a game. “…Er….a centreback?” – Nope. Got 4 very good ones already, thanks. On your way.

  27. I cant add any more on the discussion of where we are heading as a club.Even a blind man can see it’s up and up for us.

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s game,I have a feeling we will embarrass WBA.My line-up is


    Sagna…….. Skilly……….. Kozzer……….. Clichy

    Nasri….. Song………. Denilson

    Arshavin …… Chamack……. Vela

    Fabianski, Wilshire, Diaby, Djourou, JET on the bench

  28. Excellent article and comments. Mohamed Zubairu is quite right that it was not our “1st XI” if all our players were fit and rested but it was still a very experienced side (Lansbury apart).

    Thinking ahead to the West Brom game, if Diaby and Rosicky are now doubtful/out, I think the team will look like:

    Sagna Koscielny Squillaci Clichy
    Song Wilshere Denilson
    Nasri Chamakh Arshavin

    Looking strangely like 4-4-2, if Nasri plays in the hole…

  29. How many rounds are there in the league cup?

    For what it’s worth, we have a great chance to win it this year anyway.

  30. Other clubs like Chelsea talk of youth policy in teh Arsenal way but it’s not easy to do while competing at the highest level. Its like saying to Ancelotti we are selling all the 29-30 over players which is the core of their team and bring in young players from their academy. if they do that they will be relegated next season. Wenger was very brave to get rid off Berkamp Henry, Viera Pires, Keown, Campbell, Gilberto almost in one go and replace them with young kids that cost peanuts and somehow we managed to fight hard to stay in the top 4. the more you think about it the more you realise Wenger has done a remarkable job, oh I forgot while all this is happening we built a new stadium along the way, Marvellous,. Can any manager dare to do what wenger has done? none. They have no guts or the intelligence to balance the books while building a new team and a stadium at the same time. People talk of Del Boy “Arry as some sort of genius finishing in the top 4 , well look at his spending spree. Wenger would have won the league 4 times more with that sort of money.

  31. Deano. We are the bookies favourite to win it.

  32. There are some startling similarity between Arsenal and Star Wars.

    Firstly, our academy is very much like a Jedi one. Full of skilled younglings who show a sensitivy to the force (read Wengerball), then from a young age they are taught the masteries of the force, culminating in them building their own lightsabers.

    Then, you have those who fell to the darkside. Pennant may as well be Dooku, and Cashley, well who else could so fittingly claim the title of Darth Vader? (That would make Abrahmovic – with a hint of Maureen – Palpatine, although the twitchy slug Pinksnooze certainly has the looks down to the last droop)

    I’m certain we’re entering the start of a New Hope. The more enlightened sections of the media are already crying out: “Help us Arsene Wenger, you’re our only hope”.

    The Empire has had their time.

  33. Limpar

    Your commenting forecast will surely come true! These idiot fans will always jump from one thing to another in order to attempt to validate their point and have a moan about our lack of ‘success’.

    Wenger and Arsenal is truly ahead of the game, it is a shame it has taken this long for some of our support to see it! The media will need another year at least to catch up if we bag a trophy this season, as they are sure to make an excuse for it to valuidate themselves.

    Darius excellent stuff gooner! You summed up all my feelings in the past few days nicely. Hopefully 3 points from our 1st team tomorrow will confirm our confidence in the squad.

  34. You know, Song’s job is so similar to his midfield partner – whether its Denilson, Diaby or JW – that I don’t think there’s any point in calling him a defensive midfielder. He doesn’t behave like one. To me he’s a rugged central midfielder, who can tackle, pass and get into the box occasionally.

    Sort of about squad depth too – three or four years ago most fans would have been in agreement when naming a first XI. Now it’s not so easy, and depends much more on who we’re playing. It’s like there are 15 or 16 components that you can mix and match to assemble the group with the right attributes.

    For instance, I’d imagine that the best Arsenal team to face someone like Barcelona would differ greatly from one against Stoke.

    Against Stoke I’d want to see guys like Chamakh, Diaby and Song.

    A tricky European side might require Denilsons, Wilsheres, Rosickys and Nasris

    Maybe that doesn’t illustrate it too well.

    It’s all about the variety in our midfield and forward Arsenal – you’ve got players with blistering pace, dribblers, deft passers, mercurial wizards, battering rams (albeit Arsenal-style), grafters, tough tacklers and highly-technical possession experts. Most have a combination of these qualities. Some have seen it all, others are precocious yutes, not afraid to take on anyone.

    When we have the luxury to pick a bespoke team it’s a nuanced palette, but it also means we’ve got great backup for the inevitable injuries.

    Of course there’s one player who has to be picked for every important game. Luckily he’s the captain as well.

  35. For those of who haven’t yet read this article about Liverpool and United – definitely worth a read.

  36. Great post Darius!

  37. Habari Darius. Another nice post though that’s what we always get from this blog. You guys spoil us with quality. But I have a question for you. We have a large squad now and it’s still growing. What do you think of the theory that a team only needs between 14 to 18 quality players. Below that is disaster and above that is also disaster. Looks like we may double that number in the near future?

  38. Nice one Gadget. I’m aging and yet I still love the star wars!

  39. The thought of playing a front three of Bendy Chamakh and RVP againt rugby teams is tantalising. Then bringing on Walcott and Arshavin to kill off already tired legs.


  40. Kenyan Gunner,

    I’m a geek, but blasphemous as it sounds, I was never that much into Star Wars until I played Knights of the Old Republic. That was a game and then some.

    The original movies are brilliant exercises in story-telling though, especially when compared to the prequels. If you’ve got the time (and believe me you will need the time, but it’s worth it), this guy does an excellent review of the first two prequels in comparison to the originals.

  41. Kenyan Gunner – Safi sana my friend.

    To answer your question, there are 2 issues that need to be taken into account.

    Firstly, there will be injuries and suspensions throughout the season making it necessary to have a rotating squad. So at any time during the season, some key players will be out of the loop.

    Secondly, when challenging on four fronts, we’re likely to play at least 60 games. Some palyers are more suited for certain games than others, so functional rotation is better in such cases.

    Finally – a side issue. The squad is only disfunctional if there’s no harmony and players start bitching at each other and back biting in order to undermine others and win the right to play. Manchester City anyone???

    Arsene goes a long way into psychologically profiling potential targets (the academy players are conditioned psychologically anyway) – and consequently, Arsenal only sign players who are likely to thrive as part of the team, and who recognize their role in a team sport on and off the pitch. This in part explains why our signings settle into the team very quickly and reach their break even point (point at which they provide value beyond their transfer fee) faster than any other players in the EPL.

    Case in point Koscielny, Chamakh, Squallaci, Vermaelen, Arshavin, Nasri, Sagna – all of whom have literally hit the ground running.

  42. Not a massive fan of Star Wars, but I saw the Phantom Menace review just a few weeks back, Gadget. So funny.

  43. Gadget have the whole series of six movies and I watch them now and then!

  44. Verdict on the financial results? Positive stuff that we’ve paid off a fair bit of the debt. Footballing profits slipping a little though – any cause for concern there do we think? Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a strong profit, but about £13m of that decreased profit is on player trading.

  45. Darius look at this way. You get a young keeper like Szcezny getting frustrated at being four in line. Then you Tom Cruise behind Clichy and Gibbs. Then Nordtveit and Bartley behind Djourou, Squillacci, Koscielny and Vermaelen. In midfield you get the likes of Coquelin, Frimpong, Aneke behind Lansbury and Eastmond who are behind Song, Denilson, Wilshere, Ramsey, Captain Fab, Diaby, Nasri, Rosicky and Arshavin. In attack you have Freeman and Aneke, who are behind Thomas , who is behind Vela who is behind Bendtner, Walcott, Chamakh and RVP. Get my drift?
    There has been a theory that 14 to 18 players is the magic number with the remaining number being players who don’t mind being second string players to the first team and then the young developing players!

  46. The money derby is this weekend. A draw would suit us. Right?

  47. Delia-----Block 112

    An inspiring read this morning folks , I couldn’t agree more with the exceptionally well written posts. I can’t wait for WBA tomorrow and expect the Emirate’s crowd to be really up for this encounter.
    What I don’t want us to do is get ahead of ourselves. The trip to Belgrade will be no picnic if the Semi-Final crowd at last week’s Davis Cup tie is an example of their patriotic fervor.I expect our boys to be in for a very tough night and would hope AW fields our most experienced side.
    We can only hope that the we don’t pick up yet more injuries before the trip to the Bridge. We have lost players in almost all our games so far this campaign and I will be very surprised if we return from Serbia unscathed. The squad may be healthier than last season but we need to have some luck on the injury front soon, otherwise we could be struggling . Next week’s results will be significant in defining our season!

  48. I remember reading an article a little while ago about the sale of CRonaldo and what would be done with the money. Straight away, they had to pay £70mil as a ONE OFF payment for a bank charge they’d incurred!! They admittedly bought Valencia for £16mil or whatever it was, but then could only afford Owen on a free after that. They are completely fucked unless someone comes in and chucks astronomic amounts of money at them, same as Liverpool.

    I just wish the financial restrictions on operating at a loss for a few years (can’t remember the exact ruling) was acted on as brutally as it should. Then the Shitty’s and the Chavskis would also be in a very fragile situation. But i’m sure there’ll always be a way around it, legitimate or otherwise…

  49. Oh no, OOU! Not the worst football cliche going! Denilsons, Wilsheres, Rosickys and Nasris? ‘The Wayne Rooneys of this world?’ The pluralisation of individual footballers should be banned.

  50. Totally agree about Song…

  51. I fancy a Tevez demolition job, Ole. City have looked vaguely solid at the back so far – what with their 3 holding midfielders and 4 centrebacks.

  52. So is Chelsea really that good? Is it not really a weaker version of the team that lost to Wigan, Blackburn & Spurs last season, and won with the lowest points tally in 10 years?

    Where has the idea come from that they’re the unstoppable force?

  53. Having watched quite a bit of Milan under Ancelotti, Ole, I’m just waiting for all the cavier backrubs and the silk suspender-wearing and the champagne guzzling and the laurel wreath resting to catch up with them. Goals dry up by Christmas. Arsenal to win it in mid-March.

  54. Ole – I’ve been asking myself that question for a wile and it occured to me that media sycophancy has a llot to do with it.

    Injuries and old legs will catch up with Chelski quick enough…

  55. Ole – We also (I think) lost to those sides. Chelsea do look a very good team. Physically strong, and very efficient. They are definately the team to beat.

    Their first maybe 15 players are all very good, but beyond that there is very little quality. If they have a significant amount of injuries (the same as we had last year) they will struggle. Our squad is by far the best in the lge when it comes to depth.

    Our porblems playing them in the past is that we have struggled to stop them aserting their game on us. This year I think that may be different.

  56. The Blackpool fans know the truth

  57. Here goes, my team prediction…

    – – – – – – – – – Almunia – – – – – – – – – –
    Sagna – Squilacci – Koscielny – Clichy
    – – – – Nasri – Song – Denilson – – – –
    Arshavin – – – Chamakh – – – – – Vela

    I fancy Vela getting a run out for this one, even though he started the last game. Arshavin most definately starting as he was only a sub.

    Wilshire perhaps too gets a rest, while Nasri could also be due a rest depending on who else is available. Will Diaby be involved? The question that will surely play a factor.

    Wenger might be tempted to give Lansbury another run out to relieve some tired legs, saving their energies for a midweek champions league encounter, and Chelsea next week.

  58. Yeah, I’ve heard your Shearers, Lawrensons and Phil Thompsons doing that, LA.

  59. I fancy Chamakh to help himself to another double on Sat.

  60. Maybe the Yogis of this world should ban pluralising individuals. It’s just fucking annoying….LOL!

  61. goonerandy,

    I can believe they’re the team to beat. They’re the defending champions.

    It is true we lost to the same teams the chavs lost to. But they’re supposed to be an unstoppable force. That seems like a really strange thing to believe since they weren’t stellar last season and could lose to Wigan. They were lucky to beat Bolton at home in May and had they dropped points as they deserved to, they wont have won the league.

    No, I don’t think Chelsea are unbeatable. To think so would mean that we believe that they grew stronger by losing 5 key players.

    But we’ll see. They might still win the league. But they won’t have it all their way this season

  62. Interesting, CG. Same line-up as Firstlady. Very attacking. I like it, but I think we’ll see kitchenpete’s side myself… with Wilshere added to the midfield at the expense of one of the forwards. He didn’t even look tired at the end on Tuesday and he covered a hell of a lot of ground. I think he’s got one of those ‘engines’ (there you go OOU, hypocrisy)… and he’s at the age when he can just play and play.

    I’ve been trying not to get over excited about Jack but for me he is the revelation of the season. There’s always one! I had no idea he’d come on so much, and no idea he’d play such an important role. Well done, Jack. Proved me wrong. What a nice suprise. His complete level-headedness throughout such a hot-headed derby was when he really proved himself I thought.

  63. Lets not look too much into Chelsea’s easy start to the season. I am sure City and of course us, will give them a much harder test.

    Of course the little games count, and putting them to bed early, which they can do. But have they got the depth and quality in attack to last the whole season? Everybody thinks they are miles ahead of the competition, this creates the overwhelming factor when the little teams play them.

    The next two results will bring them down to earth. If City fail to do it, I am confident Chelsea will have no answer to an on-song Arsenal.

    We could really damage their confidence, make them question themselves, and swing the momentum our way in the title race if we go there and pick up a result.

    Spurs will be for a few games baffled as to what hit them on tuesday, and for many of the younger players, their whole careers! I think we can do the same to Chelsea and really show Arsenal means business in ALL competitions.

  64. Chris Gooner…

    Chelsea are playing City, Marseille, Arsenal, Villa in their next 4 games. The honeymoon is over.

  65. LA, Chelsea usually have a mid-season collapse around December.

  66. Couldn’t agree more. The ridiculous thing about the media treatment of Arsenal at the moment is that we are showing the solutions to many of the things they spend their time moaning about, but instead of pointing this out they instead seem desperate to bash us at every opportunity.

    England doing hopelessly in the international game? Change the culture of football in this country so that we produce more players with the skill, technique and vision to cope at that level.

    Club finances way out of control and in danger of melting down? Get clubs to live within their means and avoid crazy transfer fees that get them further into debt.

    But with the chance to set the tone and the agenda for football in this country, what do they instead do…?

    England doing hopelessly in the international game? Make every effort to ensure that our glorious tradition of kick and rush football is not hindered by attempts to stop vicious tackles. Also deride any attempt to make the English game slightly more palatable for the kind of players with the technique and skill to actually help us win at the top level.

    Club finances way out of control and in danger of melting down? Make it clear at every opportunity that that only way to win is to spend huge quantities on established world class players. Also, constantly criticise the trophy haul and modus operandi of pretty much the only team with a solid financial model in the entire division!

    Muppets the lot of them!

  67. The media are hyping Chelsea mainly because:

    a. They are champions.
    b. They have scored an increadible amount of goals this calender year.

    Which is fair enough I suppose. Credit where credit is due. Also they have not lost “key” players. Deco and Cole hardly featured last year for a start. But more significantly, they have not really added anybody of note. They have definately not improved their squad, whereas we have.

    If we contain Drogba we will beat them IMO.

  68. Snap Firstlady!

    Darius. Well we shall see if Chelsea live up to the percpetions everyone has on them: having the strongest squad, best team, and is miles ahead of everyone.

    I just have little hunch they will disappoint.

    Anyway forgetting Chelsea, we need to go out and win tomorrow. Hopefully Wenger finds the right balance of freshness, because we still do have a lot of injuries..

  69. I’m no expert but the financial results look pretty good to me.

  70. As usual Darius is spot on.
    Quite frankly I am looking forward to the response from either Joe, Bill or Limestone Gunner.
    Unlike Howard’s gross xenophobia and blundering ignorance, they are the from the silver-tongued school of doom.

  71. And also a small Siberian orphan sheds a tear whenever they score…

  72. LOL Consolsbob – you smug bastard.

    I bet you’ve already poured the cider and enjoying it slowly while counting down to tomorrow’s game.

  73. Quite an amazing stat…

    Five of the 10 red cards in the Premier League this season have come in games involving Arsenal

    I believe 3 are the opposition, Song and Koscielny picking up silly double booking sending offs.

  74. I am off to Dusseldorf tomorrow for the weekend. I know plenty of bars there which do 3pm PL games so I will be able to watch the game in comfort with an Alt Beer. Prost!

  75. Kenyan Gun’s question is interesting. Start from the big picture, not the specifics. For this system to function Arsenal needs a large group of youth players in the first place. I think we have 60-odd registered players in Arsenal (ladies and age-group sides apart) and that’s about right.

    1 out of 5 or 6, perhaps will find there way into upper echelons, and from that sifted number some more are weeded out as time goes by.

    Further up at first team level the Wenger system implies minimum 2 players for every position (aside from the actual regulations), and some more than that. I suspect Wenger would like 3 players for every position. Ideally, around 18-22 players would be thereabouts 1st team and experienced to cover for injuries, wear, 38 PL matches, a dozen lesser cup matches, and 10 CL matches – around 60 games over 38 weeks.

    14 players cannot possibly do this, and 18 would be restrictive. 22+ is about right. Within that 6 or so would naturally become ‘senior’ core players, playing over 40 games, if possible.

    Obviously, this restricts players in some positions and at certain times, and an in-built sifting takes place. It is the manager’s job to nurture certain talents (Wilshere, Ramsey, Chewie and more recently Frimpong as examples) and ensure they understand their ‘progression’. In others, it is a case of ‘justify yourself’ to get more games (Gibbs, Walcott, Denilson being successes, while Eastmond and Lansbury, for example, are still working their way in to the 22-plus).

    I’m rambling …

  76. Chris Gooner…

    You could also translate that to the fact that we’re playing them off the park and the ratio of 3 red cards in 5 games goes to illustrate that they can’t cope and are resorting to the dark arts.

    Does that mean 22 or so red cards will be issued against teams playing us if you average it out across the season? Wishful thinking…LOL!

    Song and Koscielny’s second yellow cards are a result of referee’s being trigger happy…

    Either way, it pays a great compliment to Arsenal.

  77. The speed at which we can play will always draw more fouls than other teams. One touch and move is so difficult to contain, and when we are on Song there is no team better.

  78. Andy you forgot Ballack/Calrvaro and some defender, i cant be assed to look for the name . The only replacement i can remember them buying is the Brazilian.Surely that makes them weaker than they were last season.

    Chelsea maybe ahead and top scorers at the moment, we were tops scorers for the longest time last season before our goals dried up, so that doesn’t worry me too much. All am praying for is we get less and less injuries as the season progresses.

    Limpar Jack has done pretty well but i think he is due a break otherwise we may just end up running him to the ground.

  79. Just to show how Le-Shite completely misses the point..

    Well done Arsene, for finding some decent CB’s and for trying to win the league cup at last

    Thought I’d have a read to see if they are taking any credit from Arsenal’s recent run, and was encouraged to find that they actually back Arsene on the X-rated tackling topic. Then to spoil it with the ‘I told you so’ attitude which makes that site so comical you would think theSun sponsors them.

  80. Very good point, Firstlady. Bill – I think it’s Bill – is very fond of reminding us that Chelsea scored more goals than AFC last year… but he forgets that as you say we were consistently scoring more than them throughout the season until our injuries hit and they started knocking 7 past teams already on their summer holidays in what were essentially end of season dead rubbers.

  81. Darius

    It seemed a bit obvious to bother bringing up again, but here go… I just feel the referees let the opposition off the hook until enough is enough. At Sunderland there were various professional fouls on our players, the majority being waved on. Then we had Spurs on Tuesday resorting to fouling, Blackburn are Blackurn, and Bolton went back to old-bad habits.

    That figure for me should be higher, and I just really hope for our players health, that the referees start judging tackles fairly.

    Not allowing the opposition to kick us because its part of the game bollocks attitude stinks, its like the media promote everyone to foul us. Why is there a set of rules for the better skilled team, and the technically unable team are allowed more leniancy..

  82. It’s perfectly clear Chelsea have a superb core (9-10) and below that, patchy. Benayoun for example can be good (in a Berbatov-ish way), but not that good (I doubt he would ever make Arsenal). Zhirkov, yeah OK, but not Arsh is he?

    When they can put out virtually all their key players Cech, Cole, Terry, maybe Alex, that excellent slav right back, Lampard, Essien, Drogba, Anelka and Malouda, maybe Kalou in every match, well OK. When they start to being on the Benayouns and Zhirkovs (plurals you see) they will drop points in Sunderland and Blackburn away type situations (another plural, it’s catching), not to mention the top 4-5 sides.

    They’ve had it pretty easy-peasy so far and few injuries. So, injuries and fitness will determine Chelsea this season. They could finish third with a bit of bad luck. One thing about EPL, you don’t really know the sides until that Xmas period, and then the gruelling winter through March.

  83. Actually Darius, consolslel and I are off to the seaside with a couple of the grandchildren this weekend.

    Caravan, burgers, fish and chips and beer are in the offing.

    I do feel pretty smug though.

    Radio 5L for the footy I suppose.

  84. I am still unconvinced by United and believe they will finish 3rd, maybe 4th if City start really playing. Its brave of me to say that, but Rooney their best player will be continually hounded by the media, Valencia is out for the season, so they must rely on Nani, Berbatov, and Giggs to produce just as much?.. Unlikely for me.

    Chelsea being 2nd, and Arsenal being 1st.

    A win at the bridge and our title charge begins!

    Maybe I am too optimistic, but if Chelsea lets say draw tomorrow, and we go and beat them, which we are more than capable of doing, we will have the momentum and confidence. While of course Chelsea get a big slapping reality check.

  85. Have fun at the seaside Consols.

  86. One could make too much of Chelsea losing to Newcastle. But it was a significant check on the state of their squad.

    They faced a Newcastle side that had rested 10 players who started on Saturday! And they lost.

    They started with Anelka, Sturridge, Kalou, Benayoun, Alex, Zhirkov. etc

    They had a pretty strong side and they couldn’t beat Newcastle’s second string at home.

    Now I know it’s only the Curling Cup but surely they weren’t planning to lose at home to lowly opposition were they?

  87. Are the Chavs home or away tomorrow? I can see them getting beaten if it’s at middle eastlands…

  88. Chelsea are in the same position we were last season, reliance on too few (fit) players at the season’s twilight. We’ve grown by about 8 players this season – the three we bought, Djourou back, Gibbs, and last season’s young guys coming through, notably Wilshere, Vela.

  89. Zimpaul, nice ramble! I can remember when Inter played the Emirates cup. Wenger expressed surprise at the large size of their squad. They had something like 28 quality players – with the debt to match! O’Neil used to keep close to that magic figure. He didn’t win anything, though he got quite close. He was criticized for the size of his squad but the quality may also have mattered. Last season only 16 of our players played 30 games or more, though Denilson and Ramsey missed the mark by two and one respectively. Interestingly our rivals in style, Barcelona, also had exactly 16 players at the 30 game mark. Luckily we don’t hear similar debts!

  90. Oh dear oh bloody dear. Just seen the spuds goal and….yes another fukup by our extra ordinary shite keeper that is flapianski.
    this keeper im sorry to say is the worst keeper ever to put on the arsenal top and all our hard work is gunner be undone by this buffon if Al gets injured at the business end of the season, hate to say it but hopefully Fabianski will pick up a knock or two and Szcesney can step into the number 2 position.

  91. bufoon that is obviously.

  92. Perfect excuse to eat junk food and drink beer Zimpaul!

  93. It starts to really get interesting when 3 players get back – RvP, Walcott, Bendtner, the latter forgotten to some extent because Chamakh has done well. It was precisely Bendtner’s return last seaosn that kept us in the hunt for so long.

    I mean we had Arsh as central striker for half a dozen games or something. People forget.

  94. Firstlady – Right you are, I forgot about them. Carvalho will be a big miss for them. As much as I hate him, he is a very good defender. Suprising that they did not replace him really. Ballack…meh.

  95. Duke-somebody or other, you have no idea what you are talking about.

    Consols, we’re starting free-range chickens. We call them ‘matabele’ chickens; large golden yellow yolks. You’ll never eat a battery chicken egg again type yokes. That’s and the Arsenal match is my weekend. I’m looking forward, although a trip to the seaside (Maputo or Beira for us, and peri-peri chicken, garlic prawns maybe a crab curry would be so nice).

  96. bob,

    Which great seaside town are you descending upon?

  97. The EPL’s EA sports index rates Chelsea quite highly. They have 10 of their players rated among the top 25, with another 3 in the top 100. No doubt their fixtures so far have something to do with it but there’s no doubt as to the quality of their squad – even if their football isn’t as pleasing to the eye. And in Ancellotti they have a great coach. So far we have 9 players in the top 100 with Walcott leading the pack.

  98. Consols – nice! You go to the seaside, and Mrs. Stone and I are stuck with friends from Portsmouth.

    The bbq is still functioning though and I don’t care if I have to use a brolley. 5 live might not have the game so if they don’t it’s ATVO hooked up on the sound system.

    Which corner of Devon (I assume) are you going to?

    Ancellotti has named his team for the game tomorrow against City as:

    Ivanavic, Alex, Terry, Cole
    Obi-Mikel, Ramirez, Essien
    Anelka, Drogba, Maluda

    Is this team capable of turning over City at Middle Eastlands???

    More importantly, I don’t see the Chavs being able to cope with any injuries from this core team. They don’t have any decent cover.

  99. Sorry, off topic. Düsseldorf though.

  100. you forgot to mention, eating sticks of rocks, sticking your mug in one of them funny photo’s,building a sand castle,and getting attacked by seagulls.

  101. Zp,


  102. Mmmm, crab curry.

  103. OOU – Dusseldorf is a great city, one of my favorite in Europe. The Altstat is an amazing place.

  104. Your Fabianski comments are silly, and wrong. Ask any keeper. By some miracle, he might have saved that, but 9 out of ten times the best keepers would not. A low accurate shot, not hard but hard enough, to the corner 16 metres from goal, 14m from the keeper, in a surprise move (offside), he was good to get a hand on it.

  105. Have to say I mistakenly wrote that part of Germany off when I was there, GA, but I did regret it after someone told me about the Altstadt. Definitely sounds like fun.

  106. I agree ZimPaul

    Only a childish supporter would come on a blog and as their 1st comment slate Fabianski. He needs to be cut a little slack.

    Let the guy get a game of two and prove himself. He barely put a foot wrong in the game, yet the goal which we concede would probably not have been touched by many other keepers.

    Hes lost his confidence, what we don’t need is childish fans on his case.

  107. OOU – Walking arounf the Altstat feels like you are on holiday. it is that type of atmsophere. 30mins South is Koln which is also pretty good, but you have to know your way around there a bit more.

    There are some great bars and restaraunts in Duss though. I have a good agreement with the wife; shop for a few hours, into a pub for the game, go for a meal, and then onto more bars. A good day out all in all.

  108. Zim,

    The thing is though its practically every game he plays in he throws a blunder. like i said i have not seen a worse keeper at our club and you know as well as i do its just you wont come on an arsenal blog and admit it that he will cost us if he is between the sticks at the business end of the season.

    the guy should think about a new trade , maybe an accountant or something.

    chris???? you havn’t have you!!

  109. Chris – Fabianski has been already cut so much slack he resembles an old pair of Michelle McManus’s knickers.

  110. oh, and that was a blunder by the way chaps, 16 yards out, keeper should be tipping that round. he got there and it still went in, any pro will say it was an error. look around at his ratings for that game and they are all 4, 5, maybe a 6 if he was lucky. he is poor, our only weak link in this great squad of ours. why szcesney isnt in front of him i dont fukin know.

  111. Bob Wilson discussing Chesney

    I think he could have done better with that save, but was told by a few people on here how wrong i was when i said that the other day. Funny how someone’s opinion can be wrong…

  112. Darius,

    Top Post.

    Everyone else,

    Enjoying your comments very much, I’m beaming with pride and longing for more football. Each match is like a celebration of our incredible talents, capabalities, unity, and depth.

    Ooohhh Tooo

    Ooohhh Tooo beeee

    Ooohhhh tooo beee a gooner

    that sums up how i feel about this squad

  113. Having gotten down to the ball he should have done better.

  114. I coincide with andy.

  115. @ DukeDoomem

    DO U GUYS JUST LIKE TO COMPLAIN BECOS its fabianski and he did not keep a clean sheet or you really believe that was a keeper error?

    Am with Zimpaul on that one.

    At time you give credit to the scorers as well!

  116. @ goonerandy

    yes he should have saved it, but does that therefore translate to mean a goal keeping error?

  117. Having type a post, he should have said something logical.

    Just because a keeper gets a hand to a ball doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to keep it out. All types of factors to consider like the spin, location of contact, and so on. I would wager good money: if he’d got down sooner his contact with the ball would have been more assured and the save would have been made.

    It seems like Fabianski doesn’t have the support of some people, depsite the fact he wears an Arsenal shirt.

  118. Fabianski’s had a few seasons of showing us how error prone he is. Whether you feel that the Keane shot was ‘unstoppable’ or not (heh), he hasn’t done much to prove that he’s up there with the best, on a consistent basis. Nor has Chesney but he hasn’t been given the chance to prove it and i think now’s the time. I’d rather he proved us ‘pro Chesneys’ wrong by him making a couple of errors than not knowing, and him leaving for lack of playing time.

  119. Duke maybe you should be manager then eh?

  120. oh come the fuk on team spirit…you know your football, you know a mistake when you see one.

    Bob Wilson was asked on talk sport a little while ago about if Fabainski was any good…his response was… a big pause then a very diplomatic “I always like to take the keepers side”.. says it all really.

  121. szcesney is not in front of hi, cos its not just its the managers decision to pick is keeper and not the fans!

    A few years back the very same fabianski was supposed to be no one and i even remember that after the fulham game, it was expected that vito should continue as number one. just a few games after that, it was clear that these things both good and bad are not judged over one or two games.

  122. Don’t think it was an error as such, but a weak attempt at a save. When he’s playing, i support him and hope he plays well. But when we’ve got a superbly talented goalie, (with a bigger frame, stronger hands, better reflexes and more command of his defence) chomping at the bit to prove himself, I would prefer to see him between the sticks – particularly for the League Cup.

    Get Fab in for the FA cup (to play in a higher profile competition) and see if he can play some games without making mistakes with a bit more pressure. That would be a better way of seeing if he’s got what it takes i think.

  123. Team Spirit – Pretty much.

  124. fabianski has made mistakes in the past. it does not mean every time a goal is conceded it is his fault! The shot was well taken by keane

    give him credit where it is also due. He has a good game considering how motivated the spurs were not to lose to arsenal.

  125. It’s not a question of ‘being the arsenal manager’ or ‘not supporting arsenal correctly’ it’s a matter of opinion. Jesus.

  126. Geo,

    I would say playing Tech may open up a bigger can of worms. Sure he may thing he’s ready, but is he? To many are putting faith in the kid, and I personally think many are accepting the kid’s quality purely through word of mouth.

    I haven’t seem him play, but it seems to me there is some hypocrisy in the clamouring for him to play. Consider the noise made about Kos, how he was a nobody with no prem exp, blah blah; now compare the clamouring for Chesney.

    Anyway, suppose Ches has a real shocker on his debut. How long do you think it will take for the calls for Wenger to sign a young “world-class” keeper? Caution and patience is the best thing in this instance. I’d like to loan him to a prem club in the same manner City did with Hart

    Besides, there is a pecking order, and it not for players to lose their places, but for it to be won.

  127. chris, maybe you should bugger off a football blog site where people put forward their opinions.

  128. Wilson

    Because the price of failure is so high these days, the majority of teams just dare not risk throwing in a young goalie. Arsenal have a brilliant young goalie called Wojciech Szczęsny. He was absolutely brilliant on loan at Brentford and at this moment, Arsene Wenger is very reluctant to use him because of the enormous pressure that would be upon him with so much at stake: Champions League, FA Cup and the league.”

    Wenger obviously rates him, when the time is right he will throw him in. Meanwhile support the players that put on the Arsenal shirt.

    “Simples” … as the Meerkat would say.

    It shouldn’t be such a struggle to support the a player that plays for Arsenal.. and have a little faith.

    Many a criticised player has come good.

  129. well said geo.

  130. Unfortunately not a game goes by in which he plays where there is not some talking point surrounding him concerning a goal we conceed. I will grant you that there are people who will get on his back no matter what, but don’t tar everybody with that brush.

    But there are also a large number of fans who call it as they see it; the guy simply makes too many mistakes. It is not a personal attack on him, but he is in no way a reliable keeper. He has had games, and when Alminua was dropped he had a great chance to stake his claim but he failed misrably.

    Nobody is calling for fans to get on his case, nor should they; but to blindly continue the mantra that he just needs games and confidence to come godd is to fool oneself. He is just not good enough at this level.

    However, he is only our No2 so if Almunia stays in form and injury free we have nothing to worry about. I will be suprised if we begin next season with him as No2 anyway.

  131. Duke grow up mate

    You can have an opinion, but resorting to slagging off doesn’t say much for yourself does it?

  132. Its clear certain members of our support are simply looking for things to criticize fabianski for.. people who are complaining are failing to acknowledge one very important detail of the goal, not the spin, not the power, not fab’s reaction…


  133. geo some of those comments about being the managers comes from the fact that at times it is good to remember that there are several reasons why this type of decision is taken and giving szcesney a senior debut in a critical derby doeis not exactly look like a wise risk or the best option.

    such complaints could have come up if we played lesser opposition. In the end it is the managers decision whether to play a player or not.

    The young man had no business making such comments to the press rather than AW though… its a bad attitude! learn to tryst your manager or else move on if you must!

  134. andy

    And many were surprised when Flamini became number 1 choice for DM.

    Song transformed himself into a quality player. So too did Bendtner, Ade came good to an extent. Then theres Eboue and Denilson, two reliable players.

    The problem is the goalkeeping position takes no prisoners, especially at a Top club. I would have liked to see Fabianski go on loan at a lower club to gain experience, playing time, and confidence most importantly. The only way he will iron the errors out is by playing.

  135. tryst = trust

  136. In a 1 on 1 situation, surely the advantage is always going to be with the striker?

    If Fabianski had saved the shot, would we be saying it was a great save, or would it just be ignored?

    And is Reina still a quality keeper, despite having made some shocking errors already?

  137. stop being a soft git chris.

  138. Chris – It is a valid point; life is more difficult for a keeper in that every mistake is crucial. In this way he cannot be compared to other players who have had a rough patch. Such is the life of a keeper. A loan would have been good for him to see if he could perform consistantly.

    Gadget – If he had saved the shot, it would have been applauded and moved on. It would not have been “a great save” simply because he should have made the save.

    Plenty of keepers make mistakes, but unfortunately he seems to make a goal costing error most matches he plays in. Sure the likes of Reina and Cech have made howlers…..but if you look over the course of a few seasons it is not that many.

  139. A few years back the very same fabianski was supposed to be number one…

  140. Andy and Duke

    I am not claiming that Fabianski will come good, and we should give him as many minutes as possible. Only Wenger knows what is best.

    But looking back to Eboue, he had a 5 or 6 game patch where everyone was on his case. He was very much the laughing stock and dis-liked for his antics on the pitch despite his quality. Eboue has the respect of every Arsenal fan (well 99%) now and is loved by the fans deeply. He turned himself around, ironed out the sillyness, and has become a very reliable player for us.

    Who has the right to say Fabianski will not at the age of 25 which is extremely young for a GK.

    This is why I called you childish Duke. There is no need to go along with the media who absolutely love to bash an Arsenal player.

  141. To be fair the incident against the Spuds is not a huge one. Should he have done better?…..probably. Was it a huge error?…….not really.

    My thoughts on him being not really good enough for us are mainly based on some of last season msiatkes which let be honest, were terrible for a player at this level.

    I was really hoping that he would begin to put things like that behind him, but the goal conceeded the other night (whilst was not that bad) just keeps those doubt alive. Time for Arsene to end the Fabinasi experiment I think. It could prove too costly if we ar foreced to rely on him in the future at any point. Nobody wants to see a player fail, but he is too big a risk for our club.

  142. Chris – As we have established; you can’t really compare an outfield player to a goalkeeper. the position is unique, and brings with it a different set of rules and standards.

    Please don’t refer to me as “going along with the media” as I never have, and never will. By the same token in some cases when so many people say the same thing, it is worth considering if there as an element of truth there even if it is against your own opinion.

    I have not heard one person say that Fabianski is not a cluster in goal. Pundits, Media, Arsenal Fans, other fans, friends who I have watched games with. Not all of these people have an interest in knocking Arsenal or Fabianski. Just maybe they are right. Either way, I personally use my own eyes to judge.

  143. goonerandy on September 24, 2010
    at 3:04 pm

    I applaud that comment.

    You do not think he is good enough. Now you need to make the next step and judge him on his actual performances.

    To be fair it’s hard to judge a keeper’s performance without pre-judgements weighing in.

    If you never saw a keeper (keeper A) play, but then saw him make 5 mistakes in 5 games, you’d think he’s a crap keeper.

    If you’d seen keeper B play well for 100 games & thought he was very good, and he then made 5 mistakes in 5 games, you’d still think he’s good.

    But the reality is that not having seen keeper A previosuly doesnt mean he’s poorer than keeper B.

    Fabianski is keeper A. Those who see him in training and scouted him for a couple of years have faith in him because for them he’s more like keeper B to them.

    Make sense?

  144. oh come the fuck on Chris. so im childish, im a manager, now your saying im going along with the media!!!!! have i touched a raw nerve with this fabianski. see you know he is an awful keeper and you know he will fuck things up for us yet when i point these things out you then try to mug me off and distance your self from what you really think. what is your opinion then chris? you think he is good? who has been a worse keeper for us then ?

  145. Sorry at work, limited commenting time…

    Gadget – I’m not saying he’s ready to be our goalie or even our number 2, but i think we should give him a couple of CC matches and give the FA cup to Fab. Then they can both gain experience and prove what they’re made of. Fab has the experience to play in higher profile games, and the CC can be used to try out new players (i.e Chezza)- like it has been for years now.

    Team Spirit @ 2.45 – I see what you’re saying for that particular match. And i agree that he shoudln’t have come out to the media with those comments, he should have spoken to his manager.

    I trust wenger hugely of course, and i will never ‘move on’ in my support of the club from the borough in which i was born.

    But don’t you think the logic of playing Ches in CC and Fab in FA is sound? Both can be given their chances under relatively suitable pressure, considering their experience…

  146. On the issue of Fabianski – my take is that it is unrealistic to expect a keeper to come out of the cold after warming the bench for so long and immediately have an impact with a top class performance.

    Any keeper will need a run of games to build consistency and confidence. I’m not too sure that fans would be patient enough with Fabianski to give him the run of games you could say is a fair crack at the whip.

    There’s too much emotion and spite already in play – and frankly speaking, it’s a good thing the coaching staff and Wenger don’t make decisions based on emotion.

    Believe it or not – Fabianski had a decent game against the Spuds and I think those who continue to shout for his execution have already made up their minds and are not prepared to look at his overall game because all their energy is spent on waiting for the mistake that will allow them to say “enough is enough – I told you so”.

    Almunia is also wiped with that same negative vibe – only that his performances this season have shut everybody up and he’s not given anyone room to criticize him. ON current form (the table doesn’t lie), a case can be made that Almunia is the 2nd best keeper in the EPL after Cech.

    But overall – I think that those criticizing our keepers are not prepared to entertain the fact that they can improve, and won’t even bother looking at the evidence. What’s the point they say – they’re useless!

    …And you wonder what happened to supporting your team.

    In fairness to match day supporters at the Emirates and away, there is a visible show of support for Almunia – especially with the stellar performances he’s had so far.

    But until Fabianski gets a decent crack at the whip with a decent number of games to build confidence and consistency as opposed to the stop start nature of his appearances, then the criticism will continue.

  147. Well frell it.

    I am a gooner, and I support Fabianski.

    Little more need be said.

  148. What a great post about a great club eh!

  149. Duke

    Like Gadget I support Fabianski.

    Seeing him in his early days before a couple mistakes slipped in, I certainly had and have hope they he will become a very good keeper.

    Like Wenger said, there is only a certain amount of chances you get at a top club, so whether he makes it at Arsenal is anybodys guess. Most guessing not right now.

    And yes Duke, the media does get to you, and yes you are childish. What would you think of myself If I had come on this blog ranting about my hatred for Koscielny after a mis-placed header and already a red card this season…

    Use a bit of logic, it may help back your rants.

  150. Sort of understood Ole!!

  151. Well said Darius.

    Like the many fans who never thought we had a chance in hell this season, the same fans have jumped on Fabianski’s back before the season is even really kicked off.


  152. So what’s the chances of Nasri starting against West Brom?

    I really want him to get a good run in.

  153. Sorry if this has been said already but it was interesting to see that Szcezney, the goalkeeping Messiah to many an Arsenal fan, thinks that Fabianski is the best keeper at the club.

  154. If Denny starts I think he’ll score. I look forward to seeing another funky celebration!

  155. yeah els, thanks for reminding me… a great post Darius… i forgot to say in the midst of the matters that i met arising LOL

  156. Ole – All fair points. However if “keeper A” despite being great in training (which I bet he is) falters every time he plays in a presure situation (i.e. the first team) then things need looking at. Would you not agree?

  157. @ LimparAssist,
    he does? where id you see that?

  158. Come to it, I think Wilshire will score too, but his celebration will be a muted one, just a wave to the crowd, and a hug from the King.

  159. are we playing at home?

    why do you think the celebration for wilshere will be muted?

  160. yawn chris. sounds like the media has infected your brain far more than most of the regulars on this blog. you need to get that massive wedge of a chip off your shoulder when it comes to talking to people who clearly aren’t here to repeat what the fucking mirror has told em. have a bit more respect for people who are clearly able to think for themsleves cause YOU sound like the broken record mate.

    I can tell you are pretty much the only person on this blog who I wouldn’t enjoy a pint with. useful in battle but not in my freetime thank you.

    sorry just got back from the pub…

  161. I’m not calling for any executions Darius. I’m saying to give Ches a chance as well as Fab, in the different cups.

    And i’ve always had faith in Almunia.

    And Chris – hope you’re not lumping me in there..? I’ve been optimistic about our chances from day one. I’m just giving my honest opinions about Fab.

    So many on here are quick with their snide little comments to those who give their honest opinions. That’s not what it’s about is it?

  162. There was a stage last season where Fabianski got a good run of games (Almunia was injured/dropped). In that run came the Blackburn/Porto bloopers amongst others.

    I have said before that he is probably the best keeper in training, but just can’t see to manage the step up.

  163. Word – word

  164. Just a feeling I get. He’s such a calm and assurd kid, and he just acts like he’s ben there before

  165. Els – I would be suprised if he doesn’t start. I think if he is fit, he is one of the 1st names on the team sheet for Arsene.

  166. TS – I could see Jack being very humble in his celebration too… Just looks like that kind of guy.

    Gadget – if i dont see a trademark Denny head shake, i’ll be disappointed… lol.

  167. goonerandy,

    He hasn’t faltered everytime. The irony is that last season many called for Almunia to be dropped in his favour.

    In his first few games for the club he got rave reviews. Even while conceding 5 goals against the Spuds he was outstanding.

    He didnt come under attack until the FA Cup semi. I am not sure it was his mistake though people said it was. it was Silvestre’s mistake & even if he sat on his line, Drogba was through anyway and would almost certainly still have scored.

    After that he still did well in the Champions League.

    He’s had more good games than bad for us.

  168. I’d like to see Almunia get a goal this season. When we’re 4-0 up and the oles start going, I’d like to see Big Al come storming out of goal, make real clever run and lash one in in a real cool manner.

  169. But ultimately I have arrived to the conclusion that he needs to go out or loan or to another club where he can have a string of games where he’s not going to get blamed, rightly or wrongly for goals.

    But I also think the solution could have been bringing a Schartzer type in as number 2 such that Almunia can be dropped in case of bad form.

  170. Geo, imagine the head shake & the funky dance at the same time! Minds would explode all around the world!

  171. Except in Brazil, where they’d probably join in with Denny’s dance

  172. I heard it was in this interview he gave to the Polish sport paper, Team Spirirt… sorry don’t have a link.

  173. The so-called Blackburn blooper wasn’t a blooper. He was fouled by David Dunn who pushed Sol into him.

    His flaps were the ones at Porto and Wigan which were real and proper cock ups.

  174. Ole –

    “After that he still did well in the Champions League”

    Really? Are you forgetting the Porto game? And another (can’t remember which) where he pushed a near post cross into the goal under no pressure at all. Not “doing well” in my book.

    Do you think the defenders are confident with him behind them? Look at the chaos in our box last year against the like of Bolton and Stoke. It was mayhem. Teams targeted him because they knew he was the weak link, and not because the media said so either. They will have done their homework, spotted his weaknesses and targeted them.

  175. It’s amusing how breath-takingly stupid hacks and pundits can be.

    Apparently, according to the experts of a certain station – Wenger’s aim to not spend money that the club apparently has is because he’s an egotistic manager who wants to prove to the world that “I can do it my way”.

    Ignorant and miserable pieces of fuck. They can’t even fathom what has been happening at Arsenal and are passing short shrift judgements.

  176. haha Gadget – one can only hope…

    I remember when Denny scored a couple last season and after the 2nd one (maybe in the next match), Nasri was desperate for him to do the head shake thing, and when he did, Nasri pissed himself laughing… Was good to see Nasri and Arsh having a laugh together in the Spurs game too. Love the team spirit we’ve got these days. Amazing what a few transfers out can do eh?

  177. “Do you think the defenders are confident with him behind them? Look at the chaos in our box last year against the like of Bolton and Stoke. It was mayhem. Teams targeted him because they knew he was the weak link, and not because the media said so either. They will have done their homework, spotted his weaknesses and targeted them.”

    Ummm, weren’t you using that same argument about Almunia?

    (I’ve spoken with Zeus, and he’s gonna make sure Almunia scores this season)

  178. Limpar,

    That’s been criminally underreported. He’s been saying the same thing forever. Szszesny thinks that Fabianski is better than he is.

    Amusing that all the blogs are saying he must be gutted to see Fabianski ahead of him. No he isn’t.

  179. “Ignorant and miserable pieces of fuck. They can’t even fathom what has been happening at Arsenal and are passing short shrift judgements.”

    haha love it Darius!

  180. Almunia scissor kick from the edge of the box please Gagdet. I’m sure Zeus can arrange that, he did for Trevor Sinclair…

  181. “Some would have you believe that trophies are the only measure of success. By definition, that renders 85 of the 92 professional clubs in England and Wales as failures each season.”

    So I can see you probably mean the 92 clubs in the top 4 leagues when you say professional, 20+24+24+24. (I’m not sure the professional distinction is that clear)

    But which 7 trophies are you counting? Just the domestic ones?
    1. Prem
    2. Champ
    3. Lge1
    4. Lge2
    5. FA Cup
    6. Lge Cup
    7. Charity shield
    8. Champ lge
    9. Europa Cup
    10. Euro Super Cup
    11. World Club Cup
    12. Emirates Cup (ok, pushing it a bit now!)

  182. goonerandy

    They target him because the media said so. I dont recall him featuring against Bolton. He did cock up against Stoke in the FA Cup but many keepers are beaten by that throw-in.

  183. Seeing as Tottenham had yet again parked the bus at the lane and refused to have a go at us even at their own ground… and at that point Fabs had spent most of the evening stood cold on the edge of his six-yard box, admiring the night sky over North London… I don’t think it’s that unusual that he didn’t get a strong enough fingertip to a shot right in his bottom corner. If he’d been peppered all night, springing about like Pat Jennings then yes – maybe you’d expect him to push it round the post – but caught cold it’s totally forgiveable for me and the sort of thing you see happen to other keepers all the time.

  184. Ole – Do you honestly think that a manager would take their tactics from the media?

  185. I can see idiots liek pullis sat in his office now…..his coaching staff and scots are there as well. One pipes up with “We have noticed that Fabianski seems weak on crosses and….”….Pullis cuts him off. “I have the Sun thanks guys, no need for any of your detailed input that you have gathered from various scouting missions over the past few weeks”.

    Yes Ole, you are more than likely right. I am sure that is how top level managers work these days.

  186. Heh scots=scouts.

    Although they could be both I suppose. I really should proof read before I post.

  187. Regarding Wenger and Arsenal…

    “Individuals who are never satisfied with the static standards set by the masses — the masses have always been lethargic They have always opposed greatness for it is beyond them to even.. comprehend greatness ”

    Regarding Big Money Football…

    “The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.”
    — Herbert Spencer, (1820-1903) British author, economist, philosopher

    Regarding the Media…

    “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”
    -Adolf Hitler

  188. Ha, we rumbled Adolf though didn’t we. The cheeky scamp.

  189. Have a good weekend all. Off now.

  190. Yeah…but his methods have a hell of a half-life don’t they?

  191. Surely the mark of a good goalkeeper is to focus fully throughout the match even when they don’t have much to do but still be able to pull off the crucial save when required. If Fabianski can’t do that then playing in a team which regularly has 65% possession or more may not be the best place for him. On another note he was nowhere near the two near post efforts that Bentley and Keane (albeit offside) fluffed.

  192. goonerandy,

    Of course. Managers have signed players just by reading about them in the media. That’s a fact.

  193. Geo,

    I know. How good is Nasri’s English? I haven’t heard him on ArsenalOnline speaking in English….I was dammmmmmmmmn!!!

  194. Also he doesn’t seem to have such a thick French accent. He will soon be putting the likes of Bentley and Defoe to shame.

  195. ARSENAL!!!

  196. Darius: Excellent post. Very well written. The only disagreement I would have is that the measure of success for nearly all of the other teams in the UK is significantly different then for Arsenal or Chelsea or ManU. 10th or above is great success for Fulham. Staying up is like winning a whole cabinet full of trophies for many teams.

    This squad clearly has strength in depth that some of our past squads lacked. The other huge and IMO most important change so far is the defending. The organization in the back has been much much better. Almunia has also been excellent probably in part because of the defenders in front of him.

    Ole, Andy, Limpar.

    If Chelsea stay relatively healthy and focused they are clearly the team to beat. They do lack the depth of previous squads. If they have the same injury issues as last year they will be in trouble. Last year they also tended to lose focus when they got ahead of the pack. In my experience watching sports all my life that eventually comes back to haunt a team since every year it gets harder to push the gas pedal back down. I think we have a real chance this year, although I do worry about our relative lack of experience in the back. The quality of KOS, and TV is obvious but they are still young and inexperienced in the PL. If we can keep this team together it has the talent to dominate the league for years.

  197. Maria – Nasri seems like the sort of chap you’d bump into on the Holloway road or Greenlanes and he wouldn’t look an inch out of place. I was also surprised at how fluent his English is…

    @Axis 4:37 pm – On the masses who blindly follow the lies of the media:

    “Never under-estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers”.

  198. Bentley’s header 20 yards wide was a real highlight. He hung in the air, pulled the right pose, stuck his head on it but the ball just squirted off into the Paxton end, lubricated by his ridiculous haircut. At that exact point half of North London were laughing at him for being a little shit and a spurs player, while the other half were hating his guts because he’s shit at football and he used to be Arsenal. Very enjoyable moment.

    Of course Fabianski didn’t get anywhere near it. Even the ball boys didn’t get anywhere near it. If he had got to it his positioning would have left a lot to be desired.

  199. At times I wonder if the difference is ignorance rather than stupidity…I know that stupidity is most certainly dangerous…perhaps we should say:

    “Never under-estimate the power of stupid and ignorant people in large numbers”


  200. Looking at the team Chavski put out for the game against Abu Oil. I think we can assume that we will be facing a very similair team. How do you guys think we will combat this and what will happen if god forbid Chamack get’s injured.

    Ivanavic, Alex, Terry, Cole
    Obi-Mikel, Ramirez, Essien
    Anelka, Drogba, Maluda


    Sagna…….. Skilly……….. Kozzer……….. Clichy Song………. Diaby

    Arshavin …… Chamack……. Vela

  201. Opps –

    I was hoping to change that team.



    Song, Diaby,



  202. P*** OFF BILL. You are a drain on this site. Keep your flithy eyes and hands off our team.

  203. DS,

    So true!! He would defo feel at home in Finsbury Park. Bless him. He really is growing on me. He seems to do that everytime he plays in midfield. Funny that.

  204. Ole – You are being naughty again and hearing what you want. I said tactics, not signings. Please….no more of your made up “facts”.

  205. Maria – I think the pressure will be on Chelsea either to maintain their winning run or to recover from a disappointment at Middle Eastlands.

    With the involvement of Chamakh and Koscielny in that game, I think we’re better equipped to deal with Chelsea – if you also take the application we have shown this far in every game in terms of commitment and desire. We’re going to ‘want’ that game more than them.

    @Axis, ignorant and stupid does it for me. What isn’t in doubt is that the combination is dangerous and should never be under-estimated.

  206. Maria – Get a life. Stop attacking Bill for actually very good objective posts. Grow up, you are boring.

  207. Goonerandy – Why don’t you grow some balls. Instead of licking off what Bill and Joe leave behind.

  208. he is talking about us again the ginger twat on talkshite

  209. Oh and you calling someone else “boring” you have to be kidding right??

  210. You’re missing a player, Maria.

  211. Karim. If they didn’t have Arsenal with their bloody foreigners they wouldn’t have controversy to rile people up with enough for them to call and create sensationalist radio….

    I think the punk with Durham is more dangerous than Gingerman.

  212. Does anyone know if there is even a small chance, that Thomas and Cesc could make it back for the trip to Fulham?

  213. Heh, because you never follow the crowd eh?

    My point was that whenever he posts, you just abuse him regardless of what he has put. There was nothing wrong with his earlier post at all. Yet you had a hissy fit.

  214. Maria. Yes – there’s an international break after the Chelsea game.

    My feeling though is that they shouldn’t be rushed back and they should be allowed the proper time to recover. We have adequate backup

  215. Darius,

    Lol, that trip to Fulham was the Chavski game.

    No chance there then.

    I agree we do. It try is a shame however that we come across them under strength yet again.


    I don’t follow the herd but here on ACLF most poster SUPPORT the team. Hence, I can rarely fault their comments on Arsenal.

    Their taste in music however, well….it’s just

  216. can’t wait for city v chelsea

  217. OMG, some clown calling himself an Arsenal fan, came on TS claiming that he was no longer a ‘support’ he was a ‘fan’ now in protest over the fact that Arsene didn’t buy a keeper. Legrove posters now calling in national radio stations, why do these guys continue to express their juvenile views??

  218. Maria,

    all Brits have terrible taste in music. we’ve known this for years here in the states. they did great in the ’60s exporting a bunch of bands to their TRUE homes in the US.. but after that.. it really is embarassing!!

  219. Maria – I am 100% ARsenal supporter. We do have something in common after all. 🙂

    NJ – I am huge fan of American music. Pixies, Queens of the Stone age and Mark Lanegan are some of your finest exports.

  220. Maria…don’t be gullible – LOL!

    Talkshite will never let a sensible Arsenal supporter on air to make a case that they’re stupid. They screen all calls and just let through the extremists that make their case.

    It’s the only way they’ll create sensationalism that is their fuel to sell advertising.

  221. NJGooner, I disagree!! Been a huge fan Alex Paterson and The Orb for over a decade…excellent and chill music…and English!

  222. Darius,

    Don’t you worry, I have learnt my lesson. However I was trying to listen to the Arsene Wenger appreciation show that you commented about yesterday.

  223. I agree with NJGooner.

  224. You have to go back a long way – Post Bop, Chess, Stax and Motown – to find any original popular music coming out of America.

    Beefheart and the Velvets in the 60s, hip-hop in the eighties, I suppose. That’s about it really.

    Since then it’s been like England at football; left behind and getting hammered at their own game – looking to others lead the way and then trying to approximate their work.

  225. Maria – Durham is only interested in appreciating Arsenal and Wenger when discussing Jack Wilshere. If ever there was a definition of xenophobe – his photo will be it.

    The other punks that flank him all hate Arsenal with a passion – you can even here their contempt and venom in their voices.

    The way to look at it is that if they hate us that much, then we must be doing something right.

  226. TalkShite are at it again, laughing at our 5 year trophy absence. One should be able to drive a coach and horses through the crap that they are coming out with, but they carefully screen the punters to make sure they are thick as shit before talking on the radio. Never mind about Man Shitty or the bindippers, they are focusing on Arsenal, who if I am not totally biased, have been doing a lot better than either of these teams recently. Indeed, how can they be questioning our ambition, when we are 6th in the UEFA coefficients. For fucks sake.

  227. Yep, as usual D your right. The one flanking him today is practically in tears when anyone compares the financial states of Liverfool and the Mighty reds. Laughable really.

    Just listened to the Arsene interview pre WBA. It appears Gibbs could be back by Tuesday.

    Verminator and Cesc defo out for the next two but have a chance for the game against the barbarians.

  228. Ludicrous defence of boring boring bill by goonerandy earlier. Well done Maria.
    He doesn’t get blindly criticised for the sake of it numb nuts, he gets routinely lambasted now. If you’d been here longer you’d know he was given every accommodation when he first appeared but resolutely ignored every post and kept saying the same crap over and over and over and over and over and over regardless of how often and carefully and patiently people corrected him.
    He is a troll because he only comes here to provoke people.

  229. So, Cesc fit for Chel$ki?

  230. Exactly, Steww. What gets me is he does it by continuously criticising Arsenal calling to be ‘objective’ then as soon as anyone on a ARSENAL blog makes ONE disparaging remark about another team especially if it’s his beloved Chelski his all over them like a cheap suit.

    All he does is kill the good atmosphere on ACLF, and that isn’t on. His new love of Koscienly is worrying me; does he think he has a fondness for the dark side? If so I can tell him his an ARSENAL man and has been watching in the far away land of France, the birth place of the great one.

    His nothing but a big, fat smelly troll.

  231. All the moaners are bitching about Schwartzer instead of paying their respects to the club for achieving handsome profits. They’re like fucking babies. Me, me, me, me and nothing else.

  232. Somewhat off topic, but been drinking cold ones on a Spanish beach..anyone else think AA should n´t start ? As an ímpact´sub. he´s fantastic, witness vs. the tots, but has he the legs (literally) for a 90 minute game ?
    Am not sure he has the stamina. Controversial, but no criticism of the Arsh; he just seems to sleep in full games.

  233. G69,

    The answer to that is maybe. It seemed to me from the interview that Thomas was more likely to be fit and that Cesc was more of a uncertainly, makes sense since his injury was more recent.

  234. Granted I have not been around here that long, but nothing I have seen seems Troll like about him. His posts are reasoned are put forward well. Yet are always met with the same shit. It is like schoolyard bullying (not that he gives a shit I am sure).

  235. My favourite guy pb, whatitdo homie?

    I agree. Vela to start on the left get him into the rhythm of playing games.. If it’s not working out bring on Stuart.

  236. Someone on Sky said that Arsene went all Martin Keown on the fourth referee. Hahahahaha!!!!!!

  237. What did he do? Pinch him? loool

    Rosicky in his recent interview is praising our new French centre backs who were excellent against Sunderland. Regardless of the scoreline. He is also wary of the attention Jack is getting especially, after witnessing the war raged against Theo in some sections of the media.

  238. No no no it isn’t andy. You see that’s the point. People were unbelievably tolerant and patient with him. Really Ole spent weeks trying to make him see 1 + 1 = 2 but he kept posting as if no one had said a word.
    This is not bullying this is what you get when you wind people up and pretend to be reasonable – this is exasperation.

  239. Thanks, Maria.

    Andy, given your propensity for seeing things a bit less optimistically than most, it’s not surprising that you’d stick up for objective posters, ie; perpetual fence sitters, like Bill.

  240. Mmm..we all know your , ahem, ´propensity´for sexy Carlos, Maria – but, again, a super-sub. What is it about these two genii (?) which make them only fit for half a game ?

    And to really put the cat amongst the pigeons, I think Manuel is a decent goalkeeper….

  241. I bet Cesc cant wait to score at the Bridge..

  242. i’d just like to say that, once again, i was on a cross-pond windup.

    you guys left out some huge names those of you who did respond. bands like wu-tang clan and phish who changed the music industry’s ideas of how to be successful. but there’s also tons of absolute crap.. as im sure there is in england. i hope you lot are never exposed to lady gaga. yikes.

    OOU i liked your analogy. but even though things have stalled in english football, just like in many ways american music has stalled, there are still a few gems. like ARSENAL FC

  243. I am all for First Lady’s starting 11, but don’t know whhy I feel Arsene is not going to play vela from the left this season. I think he sees him as a proper CF

  244. MJ

    for me Vela belongs out wide or partnering another striker (chamakh/bendtner). just like eduardo, he gets isolated when up front all alone. the differences between his cameos as a sub and his performance at tottenham are case in point

  245. who’s stuart?

  246. Even i think in the same direction NJ, I was just trying to read the manager’s mind

  247. @ G69

    Stuart Little – the cartoon mouse. It’s Alan Davies’ nickname for AA because he is so small. (Alan Davies comedian who puts out the UP For Grabs Podcast. Just mentinoning that in case you’re not a Brit.)

  248. sorry – that was meant for mj_gunner

  249. Thanks FG, I am not

  250. & in that case who plays on the right?

  251. MJ

    cool, glad someone share’s my views. It will be interesting to see what the boss does with him. I think the main problem is he’s got arsha ahead of him on the left, whereas, the attacking spot on the right is a little bit more up for grabs.. at least before theo’s cracking form earlier this year!!!

  252. sometimes I resent being so far away from my beloved arsenal.

    but on the days when “talkshit” (whatever that is, radio show best i can tell) and MOTD are reported to be at their xenephobic worst by everyone here, I am thankful to be an Amerigooner

  253. I do love arsenal however it cracks me up everytime someone writes how much they love the club and then finishes with

    “Up the arse!” and has nics like Arseman etc..

    Just makes me smile everytime 🙂

  254. Up the fucking arse! ( just a crack, afterall, gulp!)

  255. Gainsbourg69 on September 24, 2010
    at 6:48 pm

    I am actually a very optimistic guy, but also a realist. I am not really “sticking up” for people either, it just seems a shame when somebody makes a decent post only to get slagged off; normally as “not a proper supporter”.

    Most on here are decent posters I think, but some seem to think heir opinion are above the rest and are fact. The fact they can’t see possibilities past their own opinion speaks volumes. I have no problems with people who disagree with what others post, but it often descends into childish name calling and schoolyard behavior.

  256., that joke didn´t quite work out as intended….
    On the more serious side of things, yes – interchange Carlos and Stuart – scare the buggers…will it be a power shot with no backlift or a perfect chip ?

  257. Goonerandy – what the fuck is a schoolyard ??? Is it a playground ? get the humour, man – Yogi is the is nasty (mmmm) on here. Hasta Luego amigos y amigas!

  258. Finally silver tongued doomer, Bill, as the Americans say, had to “drop the dime” on the mighty Arsenal in favor of his god almighty Chelsea and obsession with clean-sheating negative football. Of course good old goonerandy couldn’t wait to grab the bait.

    Thanks Maria and Steww for calling him out. He is an unrepentant troll who sops the energy out of any true Gooner.

  259. Hey Shotta,

    These guys don’t sap my energy. You’ve either got red blood or you haven’t !! These guys have clearly got purple or green blood, or some other colour. Who cares ? Life is too short. These guys are like the wets in the thatcher administration. For fucks sake. Anybody who doesn’t get it can go and watch the dippers or Shitty. They’ve got all the players we supposedly haven’t – a strong spine, great goalkeepers, the right philosophy, spending money on transfers – oh.. with the exception that they are out of the title race already (not my words, but Gerrard’s and Mancini’s)….I wonder how that could be ???!!

  260. Some of you lot are a bit mental I think. Did any of you even read his (Bill’s) earlier post. It was positive (which I know is a must around here), yet he is still getting slated and accused of trolling.

    Sometimes I wish I had the same blinkered ignorant views as some on here, but then I realize that I am glad I can form my own opinion, and still be able to openly consider others. And even change my opinion if needed.

    It seems that if your opinion does not correspond with certain posters on here, you must then be blinded by the media or other such shite as not being a true supporter. Nobody stops to consider that somebody might really actually disagree with said posters opinion. And when the which hunt starts all the normal back slapping, buttock massaging and reach arounds come out of the woodwork.

    Whilst frustrating to deal with, I genuinely feel sorry for people if they are that blinkered. That said, it is a small minority on here that are like that and good discussion is often the norm.

  261. That’s right goonerandy.. we are all blinkered, thanks for letting us know.

    Mental note – I am blinkered.

  262. Heh, wise thot, pony boy (@8.06)

  263. steww on September 24, 2010
    at 6:38 pm

    And here is a perfect example:

    “Really Ole spent weeks trying to make him see 1 + 1 = 2 but he kept posting as if no one had said a word”

    So because he would not change his views to match Ole’s he is a troll? Or not a proper supporter? Well maybe he thought Ole’s take on things were a load of shite. And he might be right, or, he might not be. Either way it does not make him a troll. His opinion is every bit as valid as anybody on here including yours, mine, Ole’s, etc. Quit being so arrogant.

  264. Muppet – Not all blinkered, just small percentage. Most on here are good posters with something to say, and are happy to discuss points. Some appear to be 12 year olds.

  265. goonerandy the nouveau troll.

  266. Heh, thats right. My view and opinions don’t match yours. Ergo, I must be trolling. You really must be 12.

  267. Oh goonerandy – Just eff off. You were unmasked a long-time ago as an arselickin doomer who simply can’t wait for Bill and Joe to post their shit for you to simply start drooling.

  268. @ goonerandy

    So because he would not change his views to match Ole’s he is a troll? Or not a proper supporter?
    Therein lies the problem. steww’s comment about seeing that 1+1=2 is about logic or reasoning, not about particular opinions or points of view.

    And everyone’s views are NOT equally valid. Everyone is free to express their opinion but that is a different issue.

  269. Sorry Goonerandy – I misjudged your comments. You are clearly not a troll.

    Ich wünsche Ihnen einen angenehmen aufenhalt im Düsseldorf.

    One last point though, you can’t be to certain in your opinions if you don’t work with the player every day. Myles Palmer (his famous line) said that Henry would never be a striker, and Wenger wouldn’t be able to convert him. I think anybody who comes on to a blog and talks in absolutes invites derision. But that’s my view…It’s what pisses of those on LG.. they want to state an opinion.

  270. “about *his* logic or reasoning”

  271. PB,

    For me its got to be the custom Vela goal now, the chip. FYI my boy can last the distance, its just AA that jogs around.

  272. Shotta – And where do you get that from. “Unmasked”, as what? A doomer as you call it? Hardly, just because I don’t follow the arse licking mantra of people like yourself Chrisgooner, Ole, and co patting each other on the back and refusing to see any type of reason.

    I love Arsnal to bits and it takes up much of my spare time. I don’t need the likes of you to evaluate my support. But, I am realsitc and as well as see the many many pros’s to our great club I can also spot a few flaws. And talk about them, is that such a crime.

    All clubs have things wrong you know, not just ours so it is OK to have them. According to the like of Ole all our players are perfect and could not be bettered. If that is the case, then the obvious question is why do we not win everything every year?

    Of course that is not true, and everybody knows it. Obviously. So why is it a taboo subject here to discuss it? Weird.

  273. shottagunna : No drooling allowed in the schoolyard! OK, time to find a bar and bore people.. (offline)

  274. Muppet – Yeah, that is a very good point.

    And thank you very much, I will. 😉

  275. Fungunner –

    “And everyone’s views are NOT equally valid.”

    Really? How so?

  276. @ goonerandy

    If you go to the doctor with some complaint, do you weigh up his opinion equally with someone who you meet in a pub and chat to about your ailment?

    Some people have a lot more insight than other people. Some people’s opinion is based on much more and much better information than other people’s.

  277. Heh, how arrogant. So how have you any idea to how “informed” my views are? I have watched and played football consistently for the best part of over 30 years.

  278. Goonerandy,

    Can I arbitrate at this point. The point the vast majority of bloggers on here are making is not that your opinion is any less valid that theirs, but it is possibly less valid than Wenger’s. And as you are not supporting Fabianski, whereas Wenger is, you will have difficulty in convincing people that Fabianski should be put to the sword in light of his support.

  279. @ goonerandy

    Heh, how arrogant. So how have you any idea to how “informed” my views are? I have watched and played football consistently for the best part of over 30 years.
    Nothing arrogant about it. So are you saying you’d weigh up your mate in the pub’s opinion equally with what your doctor said?
    I wasn’t talking about you specifically, I was talking generally. But if everyone’s opinions are equally valid, why cite your years of watching and playing football to back up how well informed you are?

    In any case, (again speaking generally), some people can watch football for a year (or watch a film, or look at a piece of scientific research) and glean more from it than someone who has been involved in that field for a lifetime. Some people just are more insightful, just like some are better at football.

  280. What do Arsenal fans do after they win a trophy?

    Turn off the ps3 and go and go to bed with their sister.

  281. The Doomer's Family

    Attention all doomers!!

    Despite the fact that we have been proven wrong when it came to making ill conceived judgments over players like Song, Denilson, Theo, and RVP, we nonetheless are sure that Fabiankski will never make it at Arsenal. He won’t make it in a 2nd division club. Continue to moan about him, spread as many lies as you can. Don’t worry we shall be proven right this time, and we will have our moment of glory, for once.


  282. What do Tottenham fans do when they finish above Arsenal in the league?

    Wake up.

  283. @goonerandy
    It is hard to believe that you have been on this blog over the past few months. As an example for why Bill gets stick on here: ever since we signed Kos Bill was the one voice talking how Kos is too big of a gamble, how he is not proven enough, how we need to buy somebody more experienced to partner Vermaelen. Even before Kos had played ONE game for us, Bill was all up on him bad mouthing the player. Now, after Kos has played a couple of games and proven that he is a real deal and a great buy, Bill is still trying to find excuses to denigrate Koscielny.

  284. Muppet – Wenger has to support Fabianski now as he is stuck with him untl Jan at least. He is a good man manager and won’t slag anybody publically.

    Fun – Hardly the same. A Doctor is a qualified professional. What qualifies a football opinion? Ex-pros? like Shearer Hansen et all? They spout the same shite as the man at the bar. Opinion on football is subjective. Medical science is not.

    Anyway guys, off now. Long day tomorrow. Have a good one 🙂

  285. Muppet – Wenger has to support Fabianski now as he is stuck with him untl Jan at least. He is a good man manager and won’t slag anybody publically.

    You can’t brush off everything AW says which does not accord with your opinion with an airy, “Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?”. He supports his players, yes, but he doesn’t have to play Fabianski and he doesn’t have to say he “can be world class”, does he? Has he said that about Vito Mannone?

    Fabianski is highly thought of at Arsenal. Even Chesney thinks Fabianski is the best keeper at Arsenal. Wenger is giving him a chance because he feels sure there is a brilliant goalkeeper in there somewhere. Perhaps this coudl be a turning point for Fab.

    Fun – Hardly the same. A Doctor is a qualified professional.
    Arsene Wenger is a qualified professional.

    What qualifies a football opinion? Ex-pros? like Shearer Hansen et all? They spout the same shite as the man at the bar.
    If everyone’s opinion is equally valid, why do you call their utterings “shite”? Some people talk more sense than other people, or see things that other people don’t. It’s a fact of life.

    Opinion on football is subjective. Medical science is not.
    Yes and no. Football opinion is subjective, but the most useful and valuable opinions are usually based on information. And some people have in addition a sort of instinct for insight.

  286. Gazidis –

    “We continue to see upward pressure on player wages. A part of that is because we’ve invested fairly aggressively in our young player pool, and we have secured their long-term future with the club.
    “This has been a very successful period of investment but it costs money. A part of it is also driven by the external environment in which we operate where player costs continue to go up.”
    Arsenal will continue to pursue their policy of developing players rather than buying big stars, Gazidis said.
    He added: “Most of [the profit] goes back into the playing side, whether into player contracts or transfer fees. Now that doesn’t mean we can compete at the level of the Manchester Citys of this world in the transfer market, because those types of fees and those types of salaries are not sustainable for any football business.
    “But it still means, I believe, that we can compete with them on the pitch.
    “We do have a policy of building and not buying, and that’s a difficult path to tread sometimes, but as a result of that policy we’re seeing a tremendous number of good young players progressing and developing into the finished article and I think our performance against Spurs on Tuesday night illustrated this.”

  287. Has everyone forgotten Don Vito exists? Even if Arsene does remove Fabi as number two it still won’t be Tech9 warming the bench. Wenger said the other day that Mannone is next in the pecking order and he’ll stick to that regardless of how many media shitfits our young Pole throws.

  288. Andy:

    Thanks for the support. I appreciate your opinions also. The longer you stay the less you will care about that sort of abuse. I long ago stopped letting it bother me. I like this blog because Yogi’s posts are always superb and very well balanced. Unlike the opinions of some of the regulars.Most of the time the discussion is good. I never could understand how the abusers really think they are improving the blog. Somehow they think they are helping the cause. The more you try to discuss it with them on it the more will jump on the bandwagon and it really detracts from the blog itself. I guess it does give Yogi some more hits so may be there is some benefit. Best to not get upset and just do what you do. Have a nice weekend.

  289. I think it was lagooner that used the term ‘mutual masturbation society’ to describe the back patting goonerandy is referring to. lol.
    I do believe the attitude by some posters here is more like what you’d expect on a religous forum, or cult. A bit wierd really.

  290. While I readily admit that if Arsene told me to put on some robes and drink the kool aid I would, I still enjoy the debate Andy prompts and Bill’s ability to remain completely unflappable regardless of how many people try to, um, flap him.

  291. Good point Bill,
    If Yogi posted some views expressed on his blog in the comments section, he’d probably be labelled a doomer.

  292. I’m perplexed by your inconsistent avatar, Henristic.

  293. Boo hoo Andy and Bill and Henristic. This is the cult of Arsenal. Support or shut up.

  294. Ole is right. Supporting a football club IS like a religion or a cult. There is no rationality behind your doing when you are sitting at some sort of family fest and you can’t stop checking your phone cause you want to see the latest scores at the Arsenal game. When you feel miserable after a bad loss in the CL (ManU 2009 … ), when you feel an almost father-like pride when you see one of the Academy kids step up to become a first team regular.

    Either you believe in Arsenal, the team and Arsene or just go “support” the team somewhere else.

  295. Henristic @ 11:52:



    I do support. Look back at the post that started all of this. It was very supportive. Oh Well. Arsenal 3 – WBA 0 is my prediction.

  296. And what of your prediction for your beloved chavs Bill? 6-0 against Man city? Just so you know they didn’t finish in the bottom half of the table, so you flat track bullies may have to come up with a new plan instead of the usual pump it up front and let the beast blast his way forward.

  297. Bill,

    As a regular reader and occasional commenter here, I too have learned to just ignore the abuse. It really just stems from a small number of offenders, and they are generally just over-zealous as opposed to downright offensive as posters on another blog which I won’t mention. I hope the abuse directed at you doesn’t drive you away, as I for one appreciate (most) of your comments, even though I may disagree with them at times ;).

  298. Maria has an uncanny knack for unmasking fence sitters, or ‘fencies’ as I shall now refer to them.

    Keep it up Maria, it’s one of the more enjoyable bits of ACLF.

  299. Fencies, although some have absolutely brilliant disguises, typically can’t resist the ‘fashionable’ arguments of the day and these days are usually be spotted in the keeper debate department.

    It’s no longer easy to see a fency breaking cover in the defence debate terrain, since everybody and their dog are lauding Arsenal’s capable quartet of CBs and the indefatigable Kos.

    In days of old, a fency usually revealed their position in the ‘spine’ debate and though it is more rare today, one may still spot a fency running for cover yelling “no spine, no spine”.

  300. Ah the wonderful tingle of an Autumn morning on match day. The taste of last night’s bile from the windy, prevaricating, fence sitting lily livered non-support is washed away, and replaced with the anticipation of watching our beloved red and white knights disembowel some unfortunate barbarians in a glorious ritualistic slaughter.
    Come the day of final victory, we who never wavered can stand around the funeral pyre of our enemies and listen to the grovelling lickspittles as they try to crawl into the fire light and beg to share our joy.
    But only the faithful will feast together on that fated day, only those with true hearts and pure souls may share the rapture.
    To victory mes braves, in harmony.

  301. 4-1 Arsenal. Tough 1st half, but we will overun them in the 2nd.

    AA x2
    Chamakh x1
    Diaby x 1

    with the goals.

  302. yes your the best steww. pat yourself on the back for never waiving from your very predictable yes man comments.

  303. Ah Duke, it must be fun to be you.

  304. Well come on steww. what do you think of fabianski then? is he going to be world class like Wenger reckons?

  305. Bill, I was just trying to wind up Andy. I found his rant amusing. Seriously, I personally welcome diversity of opinion.

  306. I personally would be happy with him being simply reliable. I can live without world class.

  307. Ole – Cheers for the thought.

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