Proper Football Returns But Is It In The Players Heads?

No Darius this week, moving homes has taken its toll on his internet access, the only bright spot being Mr La-Di-Da’s local pub has a wi-fi. I remember the days when a pool table was thought to be seen as a sign of a pub going upmarket. The times, they are a-changing.

For all of the good news that has emerged recently on injuries, Arsene dropped the odd bombshell or two yesterday. Nicklas Bendtner, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott will be back in the squad for tomorrow’s encounter with Birmingham City whilst Cesc, Vermaelen, Sagna and Almunia will all be in contention for the visit to Eastlands next weekend, or the trip to St James’ Park (or whatever the hell it is called now) in the Carling Cup. Entirely negative was Arsene’s observation that Robin van Persie is now missing throughout this month, sometime in November being the best estimate. Football is littered with wasted talent, lack of application being a common theme. When it is injury which robs a hugely talented player of a strong career, there is something more desperately saddening about it all.

The absence of Cesc is disappointing, especially as in the immediate aftermath of the defeat at Stamford Bridge he noted that had the game been the following Tuesday, he would have been fit. However, given how disrupted the past six months of his Arsenal career have been, better to be safe than sorry.

Cesc has called for ‘a winning mentality’ to emerge, interpreted as ‘win or I’m off’ in some quarters. His Scott Walker moment came in a radio interview recently when he said he had no regrets about the summer’s transfer shenanigans. The strength of Arsenal’s position in this affair – sure to emerge in 2011 once more – is emphasised by Fabregas’ comments,

When I spoke to Wenger he told me no – he was very emphatic, that the transfer was impossible.

Whilst there is no doubt that Barcelona will try again and again, Fabregas should also be in no doubt that he is going nowhere unless it suits Wenger and Arsenal. Samir Nasri indicated his willingness to take on the central role in the captain’s absence whilst the emergence of Jack Wilshere this season at a level ahead of expectations highlight the strength in depth that the club has.

Fabregas’ body language has been interpreted as wanting to be elsewhere but in what has been almost a cameo thus far this season, his effort cannot be faulted. The Spaniard observed,

It wasn’t to be and that’s that, though in my head I keep thinking it could have been a good opportunity.

‘But here (at Arsenal) I have everything. I’m still happy. I’m very comfortable here, I like the club, lead the team, play football. We just need to start winning titles because we have a wealth of quality. A winning mentality is missing.

It is a criticism levelled frequently at the players but does them some disservice. None of them appear to enjoy losing and all want to win a trophy. Tired as it may be to some but you cannot win if most of your first choice XI is missing for months on end.  That is nothing to do with mentality and everything to do with fitness and luck, in equal measure.

Anyway, a chance of returning to winning ways is at hand and the players should grasp it firmly. ’til Tomorrow.


Posted on October 15, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 156 Comments.

  1. First?

  2. Good article, I think the players do have a winning mentality and hate losing as well so not sure I agree with Cesc. Great to see that he positive despite the ‘opportunity’ for Barca

  3. If I’ve not come first, does this mean I lack a winning mentailty?

    Let’s find out…

  4. Cesc needs to shut up about Barca FFs- this saga has played itself out. All he needs to say when asked about those onekers is that he is an an Arsenal players, contracted to Arsenal and end off! He needs to show some responsibility and respect for the club and the supporters. He is the captain for FFs!!!!! He accepted Arsene’s decision not to sell him and he backed down from his “dream” move! If he wants to go- simple hand in a transfer request and see how it plays out. He will be a massive loss to the club but ultimately we can only move forward as a club with players who are committed to Arsenal! I am sick to the pits of hearing how he dreams of playing for whoever!!!! We all have dreams but we dont go prostituting ourselves all over the place to acheive them. Keep the sheet behind closed doors and deal with it!

  5. No surprises that Robin will be out for longer than expected. Its a tragedy but we have to look at him as a squad player – we cannot rely on him to be our No.1 striker although he is the best we have by some distance. The latest injury was from an innocuous incident -it wasn’t a dirty challenge- and it appears that Robin’s body just cannot stand up to playing 50+ games a season. Its terrible but unless something changes drastically, its the truth.

    Cesc’s cmments about a winning mentality have provoked debate and only a trophy will end it.

  6. By Crum,

    I was so certain that I had that winning mentilty but I was showboating my way to the line. Oh well what can I say, Enter the Dragon effected me as a kid:

    Han: We are all ready to win, just as we are born knowing only life. It is defeat that you must learn to prepare for.
    Williams: I don’t waste my time with it. When it comes, I won’t even notice.
    Han: Oh? How so?
    Williams: I’ll be too busy looking gooood.

    I’m too busy looking goooood!

    By the way YW,

  7. Sorry for off-topic so early, but I’ve been looking for a video for this guy for ages. And one happened to pop up on Joy of Six this morning, so I’ve stolen it:

  8. As long as we keep relying on a player.RVP who cannot play half a season we might as well…………………………………………?

  9. What I meant to finsih up saying was that I’ve not sussed out the musical inspirations for the past couple of posts. For some reason, I’ve got Talking Heads (who were also the Tom Tom Club I believe) in my head, but there is little method to my madness, only sleep deprivation and slyness at work

  10. Ken & AIC, pray tell what exactly is this reliance you allude to? We have Chamakh, Bendy, and the twinkle in Maria’s eye that is young Carlos all able to play in such a leading position. That’s hardly relying on RVP is it?

    If it is I obviously know not what it means to rely upon someone.

  11. Well, unless something changes real soon about RVP’s injury profile we might just have to stop counting on him. I dont think we should sell him even though he’s on big money. But we would just have to get another top class striker that’s close in ability to RVP

  12. Interesting article at untold Arsenal in relation to Arsenal Winning and loosing when Cesc & RVP both play or both miss.

    Conclusion? there’s no conclusion. We always win with Wenger, no matter who plays.

  13. off topic,did anyone see John Cross on ATVO fans forum? he was rounded upon for his snide comments ,which were mentioned on here.Perhaps the caller is a ACLF reader

  14. That Ken chats a right load of crap in every comment. Sorry Ken but its true.

    We have 3 very good CF’s.. thats more than any other club. Then we have players like Vela, Theo, JET who can play there. This crap abuot relying on Van Persie, where there hell did that come from! We have had to rely on Ade and Bendtner in the past not RvP. For me RvP is a huge luxury to our team when fit, he plays roughly 30 games a season, and we need him to come back properly with no further set backs. He can prove vital come the latter stages of Cup competitions, and the difference in a title race next year.

  15. Go go gadget oracle: I’m going to tell you the future, for I have been there where the trees are green and the girls are pretty, RVP becomes a legendary figure: the player plagued by injured, but dazzled and created magic whenever he was on the pitch. During his 30th year of life, he also happens to bag himself a brace in the champions league final, his 2nd of three CL winners medals.

  16. Champions League, FA Cup, and League Cup in the bag already this season.. only question mark is the League 🙂

  17. @Gadget

    If am not so wrong Gerald also had injury problems early in his career? Is it early for RVP still..

  18. Least we forget,a certain DB10 spent a lot of time on the treatment table,not as much as RVP i know, but,still a lot more than the norm.Perhaps Ken would have wanted shut of him as well.

  19. We always win with Wenger? West Brom and Chelsea ?

  20. @This is England.

    West Brom and Chelsea factored in the stats too. Factored in as losses. Same as the other looses Wenger has had to suffer too.

    Your point???


  21. How innocuous or how spectacular a challenge might appear in the eyes of a football fan has no baring at all on the recovery time of an injured footballer.

    It’s frustrating when a player is injured but players do get injured. Whether you get your legs sawn off by Karl Henry or whether your ankle is damaged in a less explosive way by Phil Jones – doesn’t change the fact that you can’t play for a while. Lampard, Valencia, Balotelli… are they injury prone? Should they be sold because they got injured? This is why we have three central strikers on our books.

    If you take the already well borne out theory that Arsenal have more injuries than other teams because they have the ball at their feet for longer than any other players so they get kicked more often – then RvP is that argument taken to the nth degree. He’s the embodiment of that argument. He has the ball at his feet in attacking positions perhaps more than anyone else in the league – and he holds it up – and he gets kicked.

    If I kicked you, AIC, you’d be injury prone.

  22. Limpar

    Lmao at … If I kicked you, AIC, you’d be injury prone.

  23. Exactly, dennis. It’s frustrating but it’s just football.

    Arsenal fans are quite insular when it comes to looking at injuries – as they are about lots of things. The top four fans’ natural tendency to navel gaze and feel sorry for ourselves. What an inspiring quality.

  24. Very valid points about RvP holding the ball at his feet as much as any other striker. When you have big lumps in the shape of Terry, Shawcross and Samba smacking away at your heels, crunching you from behind everytime u get possession, or elbowing u and landing on u after an aerial duel.. its quite logical to conclude where his problems come from.

    The problem is though, we love RvP for his style of play, and none of us would want him to change it. I think the last injury he was unlucky, was a 50-50 where he left his leg in loose. Then you have the previous one last year where Materazzi assaulted him in a friendly. As much as we are frustrated, these incidents happen, and both happened to Van Persie on these occasions.

    I am certain he can really have a massive impact on our season, and thats the benefit of having such a quality player, even if he is only going to manage 30 games maximum this year again.

  25. Well FMSWAB, if that wasn’t England swooshing by, on his broom was it? On his way to Hogwarts, is my guess. Well I’ll be … and I thought it was all just adolescent fairy tales. Bye … ‘This is Engaland’ … straighten up and fly right, OK, safe landing! Jeez the name is mouthful though. I prefer “This is Major Tom to ground control”, for poetic value.

    Speaking not of which … big, big ups … I mean really big ups, big ones, upwards, all the way up, to Mr. Danny Murphy, and a record of thanks and appreciation, for his cojone-ness and stuff for naming and shaming. Hell man, Murphy, they even dragged the culprits – every single one mind, and some – to Sky interviews to deny, deny, deny. Fat Sam spoke in ever so muted and soft tones, almost inaudible … with a kind of whispish “… I swear, on my mother, I would never ever resort to instructing or even suggesting that a player to harm one of his brothers-in-football in another team. I could not do such a thing, morally. The simple fact is that when people run madly about, kicking things, things get kicked”. I swear a tear dropped down his cheek at that moment, and fell, plop, onto the floor.

  26. What did I miss? Did somebody kick AIC? Did it hurt? Was there thrashing about? Did he moan? Loudly? Is he limping? Badly? Will he recover? Ever?

    It’s too bad about RvP mind. We shall just have to win without him. But, I tell you he’s coming back for the second half of the season, he’s angry, he has goals to catch up, and it’s gonna be glorious.

    Is Ken still unbarbied? Now, Ken calm down …

  27. Team prediction time is it..?? Why not!

    Verm, Cesc, RvP, Sagna, Almunia, Rambo all out according to the latest news.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – Fabianski – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Eboue – – Squillaci – – – – Koscielny – – Clichy
    – – – – – – – – – Denilson – Wilshire – – – – – – – – – – –
    Nasri – – – – – – – – – Rosicky – – – – – – – Arshavin
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – Chamakh – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Obviously Gibbs, Djourou, and Diaby all have a chance of a start… but I hope Wenger puts out a team with intent. Rosicky, Arsh, Nasri, and Wilshire will be too much for Brum. Bendtner can come off the bench, so too Theo and add the digits to an emphatic scoreline.

  28. … it’s just the hormones …

  29. ZimPaul

    Its funny, because the same fans that say sell him wet their pants when they see him warming up! The guy is the CF you want at your club. Has skill, a fierce left foot, can curl them in, smash them in, rocket free-kicks into the top corner, play with aggression, screams to the fans when he scores, and lives and breathes for the club… If anything his excessive passion to win and get stuck in has resulted in various injuries he has gathered. You cannot ask anything more of Van Persie, than a little bit of luck with injuries. You can’t tell a professional football player to be careful, look at Eduardo, once u mentally hold yourself back you ain’t the same player.

  30. Limpar,
    I am not suggesting that we sell Robin but he is injury prone – there is no doubt about it. Plenty of players get kicked but don’t have as many injureis as Robin. Thierry Henry is a good example. Being kicked is inevitable in football and some players can withstand this and others can’t. Unfortunately for us Robin falls into the latter category.

    I agree with Ole we need someone who is at that level who can play a whole season. I like Chamakh and Nik but they have a lot of work to do to be at RvPs level.

  31. @CG

    The presser on now. Koscielny is out..

  32. AIC

    Just compare for 1 second Arsenal’s striking options with Barcelona’s, Man Utd’s, Chelsea’s, and Man City’s. Then please only then try and validate your reasoning to us needing another striker… without having a logical view on what is actually financially and physically possible with relation to squad size, what is the point of such a statement that lacks this aknowledgement?

  33. I think unfortunately there is a culture in football these days that determines players will not play even if it only slightly aches. There is a tendency to over protect what are essentially multi-million pound toys. Case in point: Robert Earnshaw. He did not turn out for Wales on tuesday due to a knock and declared himself injured on Soccer AM. He then went and scored in the road to wembly game in the car park at the end. I am sure that fabregas, RVP, sagna, vermalen, almunia, and even ramsey could and should play on saturday but the club are wrapping them up in cotton wool. In the words of Mr. T, “Get some nuts!”.

  34. “Being kicked is inevitable in football and some players can withstand this and others can’t”.

    I propose a doctorate!

    Chris, although it looked inane, I suspected at the time the kick to RvP, which I think was entirely intentional and well-aimed, after a few misses, was serious. He will be back. And when he is, all of Arsenal will roar.

    For now Chamakh and Bentner and Walcott and Vela and Arshavin and JET and Afobe will just have to do a job.

  35. This is England

    Arsenalkabisa sorry had to pop out for lunch, my point is just questioning how you say we always win with Wenger,or did i miss the point.

  36. By the way YW, your comments on the Chilean media romp were hilarious.

    That El Presidente is, by the by, a direct product of the Pinochet ‘machine’ and his TV smile about as a sincere as a cat saying sorry to a mouse in its claw. Pinochet was not just any facist murdering bastard; he set up the money-take-all snouts-in-the-trough system that resulted in sub-standard safety acros the board for miners and all workers and poor and El Presidente has quietly continued his good work, with a smile, a TV smile!

    The miners are, needless to say taking the government to court, and one hopes they win and win big.
    Anecotally …

  37. This is England

    Where did you hear Kos is out?

  38. This is England

    Completely missed the point

  39. @This is England,

    The point is that the win% that wenger has, hasn’t changed, regardless of the playing personnel.

    read the article. Has some interesting stats. But as they say, you can use stats to explain anything

  40. Koscielny is out!??? shit

    Now is Djourou’s chance then…

  41. off the presser by Wenger. on twitter I follow ArsenalDotCom

  42. Injury news: Walcott back in the squad to face Birmingham. Koscielny is out with an injured back:

  43. This is England

    Cheers AK no offence i hope, shame about Kos i was looking forward to watching him tomorrow.

  44. Gadget.

    ‘All the Young Dudes’.

  45. The problem I have with the ‘some players can withstand it, some can’t’ argument is that it is made up. We’re talking about sinews, muscle, bone -constants of the human body. He hasn’t got tendonitis, he’s been kicked.

  46. This is England

    Zim does it make you feel good typing insults to people please explain.

  47. That’s all well and good, Alex Gooner, but the ‘stop wrapping them in cotton wool’ argument falls down too – when presented with actual medical opinion and physiological advice given by experts – which, going by your suggestion that Aaron Ramsey should play on Saturday, I’m going to assume you are without.

  48. This is England

    So Djourou it is then, maybe Song.

  49. fucking unbelievable how lucky we always are with injuries; what pisses me off is some people still using statements like ”if we have XYZ players available, we’d win”, whereas the truth is that everyone including the boss knows that certain players are going to be out for a large part of the season, & that is the reason we have such a strong squad.
    If the back ups are not doing their jobs, then we cannot blame bad luck, or injury gods for taking away our ‘main players’.

  50. & lets not compare TV-Csc-RVP with the respective ‘spines’ at Manure & Chelshit, since Drogba, Lampard, Vidic etc manage much more than 30 games a season.

  51. mj_gunner

    So you would rather blame the back-ups, I don’t see why any cannot be pissed off with the amount of injuries we have. Are you telling me that Chelsea without Drogba, Terry, Cech, and Lampard would not struggle? I have any manager who has experienced the injuries to their key players like Arsenal have had over the last 3-4 years, has always complained.

    Its luck at the end of the day, United won the league a few years ago with Ronaldo and Rooney firing. If one of them got injured, they would have missed out on the title. Same with us with Eduardo post Birmingham. I suppose we have got our gfair share of injuries out the way early on this time round, thats the only positive.

  52. oooh sharp mj_gunner

    Vidic has had his fair share of injuries, Anelka, Drogba picking up niggly injuries too. Putting aside the spine of Man Utd before somebody makes the comparison obviously means you know you are wrong in your previous comment.

    No more purposeless comments matey..

  53. of course Chris, they WOULD struggle, but they DO not.

    The way around our bad luck is the large squad we have (with very capable players), which SHOULD compensate for the missing player’s performances. We must get used to certain important players staying out for a good amount of games, & thats the time our back ups should step up.
    As far as experience goes, Nasri (for Cesc), Squillaci (for TV) & Chamakh (for RVP) are sufficiently ecperienced, so thats not an excuse any more. Obviously I am not drawing any conclusions or jumping onto anyone’s back already, coz I beleive in the squad. But I WILL NOT blame injuries or bad luck (unless its a ruthless challenge), if we don’t have a successful campaign this time.

  54. Another example..

    Zamora, Ramsey, Valencia.. just a few players who have been subjected to unlucky/bad challenges. Fulham’s form will surely struggle now, Valencia will deerly miss Valencia down the wing, and we have lost out on a CM option.

    It can happen to any player, the last 10 years has seen a massive increase in foul tactics used by teams like Stoke, Blackburn, and Wolves for example.. Bolton have done it, and many of the lower table teams resort to it. It is no wonder that squad numbers are increasing, and injury rooms are fuller than 10 or 15 years ago.

    Don’t blame the players, blame the FA and the officials for not controlling the game, and allowing these teams for using such tactics. By the time I posted this you would have commented not to use the nature of the Premier League as an excuse too!! Your probably old guard I bet? Like the crunching tackle do ya?

  55. Compare the avergae no of games per season, man to man Chris, & you’ll have your conclusion.

    The only reason you find my comments purposeless, is that you are completely missing my point.

  56. Consol,

    I am in need of a musical education as I don’t know enough. I’ll be listening to All the Young Boys when I get home!

    Conicidentally, I’ve actually just got into proper R&B (not the awful pop ‘urban’ version – that started the descent to hell once Jodeci’s 3rd Album – but the proper R&B). Now that’s some good stuff!

    AK, the Oracle says according to the dodgy Almanac it found in the back of some rusting Delorean, it’s hinted that RVP was likely injured quite a bit because the referees failed to clamp down on some rather ‘robust’ challenges. There’s also the suggestion that some managers and players were seemingly effected by the meme that RVP is/was (Oracles always have tense issues – apparently time doesn’t flow in just one direction for them) brittle, thereby creating something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  57. mj_gunner

    Its not about looking for an excuse, you cannot say to Arsenal fans who watch their team putting out 4-5 players in a single position over the course of a season to ignore the injuries. Any manager will complain, and any fan will aknowledge the injuries. Its not part and parcel of the game for players to target your key players. BUT in the Premiership this exists and its allowed.

    Many Arsenal fans wonder why Cesc wants to leave, and get infuriated by it. I think when Cesc finishes his playing career he will have a story or two to tell on various games where players hack at him for 90mins. There is no form of fair play left in our league. That is the sad truth, and that is why we have suffered.

  58. see, there you are..when & where did you find me blaming the injured players? I WOULD certainly hold squad players responsible if they fail to step up, as no more injury excuses for me ( unless, as I mentioned earlier, its a reckless challenge).

    ”By the time I posted this you would have commented not to use the nature of the Premier League as an excuse too!! Your probably old guard I bet? Like the crunching tackle do ya?”
    Hold your assumptions man.

  59. mj_gunner

    I get your point, I don’t agree with it. If Chelsea experienced the same number of injuries would you expect them to challenge. NOT A CHANCE is the answer.

    We went to Stamford Bridge without various core/ket/established players – whatever you want to call them.. and could have beaten them. Like yourself I believe in the reserves and backups, and I believe we have the strongest squad. But any squad that has to endure the number of injuries we have will struggle. With our style of fluent attacking play, it makes it worse for us.

  60. mj_gunner

    “the truth is that everyone including the boss knows that certain players are going to be out for a large part of the season, & that is the reason we have such a strong squad.”

    No, we don’t know that. That’s the problem. NOBODY knows WHO is going to be injured WHEN, or for HOW LONG. The squad generally does a fine job – according to the stats quoted in the Untold Arsenal article in the link we win as much with or without Robn, Cesc, or Cesc and Robin together. I think (without looking up the stats) we score more goals per game and we play more attractively with those two in the side, but the stats say we dont win more often. So perhaps you don’t need to worry so much.

  61. you put aside the bad challenges, still we have more than our normal share of injuries, don’t you agree?

  62. Mj

    My point is, the number of injuries or inexcusable and cannot be brushed aside. Any team will crumble, we are just lucky Wenger has prepared a fine squad. Liverpool minus Gerrard and Torres are the perfect example. Man Utd minus Rooney also.

  63. I know they do their job & they have my full support. I am not worrying, I am just trying to get rid of injury excuses. Unless, I repeat, its a c*ntish tackle.

  64. mj_gunner

    I don’t agree about the more ‘normal injuries’.. simply because our style of play is broken down by teams who don’t want to play football against us. West Brom showed that playing better football and taking your chances you can beat Arsenal. Most other teams try the kick them approach and nick a goal on a set-piece by pushing the goalkeeper. Theres only so many kicks any player can take, unfortunately our players get a lot of kicks.

    Wenger made a comment about Hleb’s legs after certain games in his final year, about the bruises he has gathered after 90mins. Its not a myth.

  65. you got it chris, look how pool suffer since Gerrard & Torres always miss huge chunk of games. But Rooney (mostly) manages 35-40 games a season at least. Its about keeping your star players fit, or have able back ups.

  66. mj_gunner.. and I think everyone can agree that with our striking options, that has been taken into consideration.

    Eduardo was sold, and Chamakh was brought in – A solid CF who can play 30 minimum games.

  67. @FG – I know nobody knows about WHEN, but even us fans have an idea how many games players like RVP & Cesc miss per season. If the squad can perform in their absence, it wouldn’t matter WHEN they get injured.

  68. yes, I never doubted our squad stength, thats why no more injury excuses for me.
    Having said that I am a little worried about how DJ will handle that Zigic fella

  69. mj_gunner

    Its about keeping your star players fit, or have able back ups.

    Keeping our star players fit is not entirely within Arsenal’s control, , is it? If it were, Robin would never be unfit.
    And we DO have able backups, as our consistent win rate shows.

    Where our key players come in is that they have the ability to win us (or stop us losing) specific important games. The squad players (I hate that phrase, but can’t think of a better one) collectively put in a good solid performance over the course of the season. But the key players can raise their game, often producing a little extra when it really matters – to help us win (or for defenders, stop us losing) a specific/b> game. That’s the difference. Even if RvP’s overall conversion rate might be (let’s say) 25%, in a big game, you would bet on him taking the one chance he gets. And then he might be a bit more wasteful in a game when we are winning comfortably, which would bring his overall conversion rate back to the average.

  70. Oh dear. I think I have messed up the comments and we are all going to be talking in bold from now on….

  71. Phew.

  72. Facts don’t support your argument MJ…

    Van Persies record…
    04-05… 41 appearances
    05-06… 38 appearances
    06-07… 31 appearances
    07-08… 23 appearances
    08-09… 44 appearances
    09-10… 20 appearances
    average = 32.83333 per season

    Going by your comments, Van Persie should not have recorded 44 appearances in 08-09.. and he wouldn’t average over 30 games a season.

  73. ChrisGoona | October 15, 2010 at 11:47 am |
    “Champions League, FA Cup, and League Cup in the bag already this season.. only question mark is the League”

    And you reckon that Ken “chats a right load of crap in every comment”.

    Not sure about Ken but you wanna look closer to home son!

  74. FG, thats exactly what I am trying to say, we DO have able back ups, but if we drop points West Brom or Sunderland, then why do we blame the injuries?

  75. Little Del…

    Nothing wrong with being optimistic, we certainly have every chance of winning the mentioned competitions… if you think otherwise, then how about looking a little closer to your home or council flat even Del Boy

  76. mj_gunner

    Nobody initially pointed to the injuries, its just something you can’t ignore when you let 3 goals in at home to West Brom when you have players of the class of Van Persie, Vermaelen, and Fabregas sitting in the stands. Don’t you ever wonder what could have been…

    Example: Barcelona last season, 1-0 up at the Camp Pou… with Silvestre, Campbell, and various others forming a make shift side. Had Cesc, Arsh, Nasri, Van Persie, etc etc etc been available. Its inevitable that you think like that, happens every season in Arsenal’s case. Hence the bigger squad this time round.

  77. of course they do Chris, Rooney averages around 47 games a season during the same period. & that’s exactly why Manure are a one man team after that crybaby left.

  78. OMG Kos out is it ? Then it is cataclysmic Djorou at the back. I know i will get slated for this comment. Whoever wants to come up with any excuses he might have been good or he will be good but he was poor in the games he played. It is going to be a tough tough match.

  79. to tell you the truth, after the last season (esp the game you mentioned) I changed my mindset. Lets hop this time we can do better.
    Now that the injuries have started pretty early, we know we are not suddenly going to be in crisis in the final part of the season.

  80. Random Idiot

    I don’t see no evidence to suggest Djourou is a cata.. whatever player. He is a strong CB who has been unlucky with a load of injuries. Why you on his case anyway?

  81. Same shit on here, different day! Injuries ! Is any one actually surprised?

  82. ChrisGoona
    The only match you can talk about injuries this season may be Chelsea other wise we just had existing squad to blame. If i look back, Song was the most responsible guy for lost points could be because of Arsene’s instruction. I know you are going to come back and say Song is the best DM in the league etc etc.

  83. @ mj_gunner

    Because the injuries have been to key players who make the difference when we specifically need them to, or the injuries have been so numerous, or to so many players in the same position, that we are relying on players very inexperienced players, or half-fit and tired players. Or, as happened in the last two seasons, all three of those scenarios.
    The squad players can do a job overall, or for a while. But the key players can provide the extra impetus we need sometimes. A good example is the CC game against Sp*rs. We were bossing that game – with our “squad players”. But we weren’t winning it, due to the officials’ incompetence. If that had been a League game we would have drawn that match, despite playing well. Then AA was brought on and he made the difference – so we won, even though luck/officials’ decisions went against us. That is what key players are for.

  84. Jo

    What else is there to talk about… its part n parcel of the game right

    You gotta hate that expression!

  85. Random Idiot

    I don’t see no evidence to suggest Djourou is a cata.. whatever player. He is a strong CB who has been unlucky with a load of injuries. Why you on his case anyway?

    Hmm See i was not talking about past and not future . In this season all the matches we have played he has been poor. You are no different than Jaguar , simply coming up with excuses and start insulting.

  86. Random Idiot

    Nobody has barely had a glimpse of Djourou this season.. what are you going on about!? You do know after lengthy periods out it can affect your performance.

    Have you ever played football by the way?

  87. Any suggestions, JO?

  88. If you look at the number of games played by the first choice players, Arsenal actually had the fewest games lost from the back 6 including the defensive mid, 2 full backs, 2 CB and GK. Chelsea won the league and had the most injuries to their defensive players. Essien and Boswinga missed nearly the entire year. Carvalho and Cole both missed about 15 and Cech missed a few games. They also lost Drogba for the ACN and a few other games. ManU gave up the fewest goals in the league with no Rio F. EVDS missed about 15 league games. Neville hardly played. Injuries actually hit everyone else harder then us in the defensive 1/2 of the pitch. We did not have the strength in depth with our defensive players last year to cope with our injuries while the other top teams did.

    Arsenal clearly had the most injuries to its attacking players most notably RVP.

  89. Chris,

    We can use the money from Cesc’s sale in the summer (providing that the asking price is met) to buy a world-class striker and goalkeeper if the current ones don’t make it. Personally I would add a “monster” centreback and midfielder as well but knowing Arsenal we will buy noone and promote Mannone and Benik Afobe.

  90. Forgot to say as well, injuries reduce Wenger’s tactical options and affect the balance of the team.

  91. Chris ! That is the sad sad state of the situation!

  92. ChrisGoona = Jaguar ,
    I know it can affect that is a perfectly valid excuse for him but that excuse is not going to change the result . And he played 2 games for Arsenal this season. I guess your glimpse will be 40 matches i guess. And i have never told he is not going to be good or any such thing.

  93. AIC

    That is the benefit of bringing players through the youth system, or nurturing players from a young age. Its not a new thing, and many clubs aspire to reach the point where they can rely on talent that comes out of the training grounds. Also, Chamakh and Koscielny were brought in to aid the youngsters, a signing will be made if needed.

    Stop singing the same song where Wenger don’t spend. You know yourself it ain’t true, and you just look like a spoilt fool who craves the bragging rights of a BIG signing. Grow up.

  94. @ FG –
    ”The squad players can do a job overall, or for a while”
    I agree with you in regards to the need of impetus, but if we are to be successful, it has to be more than ‘for a while’ because, accept it, our 1st teamers are out for more than ‘normal’. This is the reason we have such quality back ups, which no other team in the world has, IMO .

  95. Random Gunner

    You validated your point fully.. no need to try backup your point so keep thinking Djourou is cata..useless 😉

  96. how manu ‘world class’ strikers do you want AIC?

  97. how many ‘world class’ strikers do you want AIC?

  98. Chris Goona

    RVP has only start more than 17 LEAGUE games a season ONCE in 6 years at the club
    We dont include pre season games and friendlies

  99. CG,

    It was the 50-50 with Chiellini which took out RVP last season. Zamora, RVP’s sparring partner from Craven Cottage last year, helped to humiliate Chiellini later in the season. A shame that he’s ‘injury prone’ as well.

    Against Ballackburn, RVP was kicked three times on the same thigh, no fouls. Most players run with the ball balanced upon their thigh, don’t they? Or were those kicks a little, mistimed? RVP must have been too quick! He must be the fastest player in the squad.

    RVP was playing in his second game back after an injury lay off, a delayed pre-season, and after playing every game in a WC in S.Africa. In this instance, you could argue that he would be’ injury prone’, but no more then anyone else would be.

  100. Bill,
    The fact is Chelsea only had 60% the number of injuries Arsenal had last season.

  101. Since 03/04, the Top 4 team with the fewest injuries has won the league.

  102. ChrisGoona

    I know you’re right mate, cos this time next year we’ll be millionaires!

    You know it makes sense!

  103. Rooney, Berbatov, Hernandez, Owen, Macheda, Bébé

    Drogba, Anelka, Kalou, Sturridge

    Tevez, Adebayor, Bolatelli, Jo, Santa Cruz


    Van Persie, Bendtner, Chamakh, Vela, Theo, JET

    Like someone mentioned I think on here earlier, a striker is not needed for a while. There are other options out on loan and almost ready to contend for 1st team too.

  104. Alex Balti Bucket won’t be happy until Brum’s Hleb returns to the club, or something like that. Understandable, as Hleb was good, but not quite as brilliant as TR7. And guess who is back this season? (And starting tomorrow? Please!)
    ABB needs WORLD CLASS signings to keep him happy.

    Like, I dunno, Jack Wilshere?
    For starters?

  105. Watching RvP’s play an addiction , i would not for any reason think of letting him go. He is one of the most special strikers. I think we can have RvP as luxury , we have good enough deputies now in Chamakh , Bendtner, JET. Probably RvP’s salary could be linked to the number of games he plays. We should keep RvP , the loyalty of RvP is hard to get.

  106. ken..

    The stats I posted were competetive games only.. sorry guess your wrong. Try taking it on the chin.

  107. @ mj_gunner
    But if they consistently could do what the key players do, then they would BE the key players. However high the standard of the squad, we will always have a few players who start if fit, and most of the others have to fight it out.

  108. Did our rivals lose four or five key players at the same time, for weeks on end, at the sharp end of the season? No.

    We topped the injury table consistently last year. When other teams had key players injured/contemporaneous injuries, they suffered. We had more key players injured, more often and (in forward areas) for longer periods, than other teams, so we suffered more than other teams.

  109. On strikers, I read on YG or Untold Arsenal that Wellington Silva is going to come straight into the first team in January when he turns 18. If that’s true, they must think an awful lot of him.

  110. Sounds like some people are looking for excuses to not allow others the reasoning to call on our high injuries.. the point of it all?

    Many of these fans still want big signings every year, want to splash the cash and can’t handle hear the club making a profit and being a well run establishment without a trophy to show… this is reasonable in one light, but this should not be used as an excuse to criticise the way we operate football wise. The foundations are put in place financially to give us every chance of succeeding.

    So much HARDER work is done at an earlier stage, we are ahead of the game, while City are out on the market looking for ‘ready made’ players like Bolatelli who was dropped by Inter because of his attitude. Had City gone for an ever present, would they have got him?

    Tevez – out of favour
    Ade – out of favour
    Robindo – club politics forced him out
    Milner – wanted a bigger salary .. sorry challenge
    Barry – same as Milner
    Yaya – not Barca’s favourite child, and prostituted himself around Europe for years.

    They all mainly rejects or players looking for another club in the wrong manner or for the wrong reason. Bellamy already left, he was there best player last season. Just shows you how far they havn’t come.

  111. @ FG –
    That is what these players have to prove; that they CAN be key players, if the chance comes. I am fully aware we are top of the table, but there has to be a way around, isnt it?

    @ Ole –
    ‘Since 03/04, the Top 4 team with the fewest injuries has won the league.’
    Brilliantly summed up.

  112. i meant the injury table

  113. “We just need to start winning titles because we have a wealth of quality.”

    Uh oh… Cesc is talking about trophies and silverware….he is a doomer. Doesn’t he understand how well the club is run and that in itself is a victory every season?
    That should be enough for him.

  114. ChrisGoona, I love your enthusiasm, but I think its time for you to take out a nice lady and have sex for a while.

  115. Hello TIE … yes, it makes for an enjoyable Friday afternoon. I especially despise our breed of fans who start from the premise that Arsenal is “not up to it”, with a bias to every possible negative about Arsenal (rather like Chelsea Dave would, were he here). As it is not much fun to talk football with this type, I prefer to have as much fun out of them as possible.

    In a nutshell.

  116. “When I spoke to Wenger he told me no – he was very emphatic, that the transfer was impossible.”

    Uh-oh…Cesc is talking.

  117. AIC – this Noone we’re in for … is it Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits fame?

  118. @ mj_gunner

    They DO come up with the extra-special goods from time to time (Nasri v Porto, Diaby v Aston Villa, for example) but I think you’re being a tad unrealistic. Arsene probably signs most players in the hope that they will turn out to be exceptional, but mostly that will not happen. They’ll “only” be top quality. That’s what makes eceptional players exceptional. That’s why the Invincibles were so amazing (that and the fact that they were lucky enough to stay fit).

  119. “the ‘winning mentality’ is something you only get when you have won something.”

    A good thing that CF4 also knows how to listen.

  120. This is England

    When did i say Arsenal are not up to it? As i have said to you before i would put my credentials as a Gooner up against yours any time.

  121. Drogba out with a fever.

    FEEV-A! When ya touch me… Fever when you hooold me tight… You give me feeever… In the morning… Feever all through the night… FEEV-A!

    Lots of money going on Villa this afternoon. Might join the run.

    And… just got given a ticket to the game! Boom! Hello weekend, here comes Limpar!

  122. And no Craig Gardner. Um, suspended.

    Which is a shame, as I was hoping Eboue would lop his head off and parade it around TNHOF atop a corner flag before chucking the bleedin’ stump into an ‘injury prone’ basket.

  123. Oh god, a credential waggling contest in the offing! I’m out of here…

  124. This is England

    May have a couple of spares for tommorow if anyone interested, leave a message on here i will get back to you later tonight when i have it confirmed.

  125. This one went downhill quickly.

  126. FG, you mean Chelsea are just lucky? & so were Manure 2 seasons ago?

  127. Sorry.

  128. Nothing wrong with a bit of the old visceral anti-hoofball ultraviolence, Finsbury. Nothing wrong with that at all.

    I would chop Liam Ridgewell’s toes off with a cigar-cutter given half a chance.

  129. McFadden is out too

  130. A team for tomorrow:

    Fabianski (Al still out)
    His Excellency Eboue – Squills – JD? (against an old club, went on loan) – Clichy
    Song (Diaby/Denilson?)
    JW – TR7/(Nasri/Denilson?)

    No room for Vela. Maybe he’ll start in the CL?

  131. Liam Ridgwell has toes!

  132. @ mj_gunner

    If you mean lucky with injuries, yes!

  133. @ mj_gunner

    This season, there are three or four teams who all have the quality to win the league. Only one of them will do it. Luck (with injuries, referees, etc) will be part of the reason why it is one of those three or four and not the others.

  134. Well, I guess you’d call it cloven, rather than toed.

  135. Finsbury, you also left out Theo – who I have a sneaking suspicion may start tomorrow.

  136. Be nice to see Johan getting a start.

  137. Squilly did a fantastic job taking control of that partnership against a very good Partizan side. Making sure each knew when to hold ground and when to step up and attack the ball. Lots of shouting, lots of pointing. Reminds me a bit of Adams in that respect, our Squilly. I’m confident they’ll play well again together against Birmingham.

  138. Since luck is never by our side,FG what do you suggest should be the way around??
    I suggest our squad plays to its potential.

  139. Limpar.

    The thought of TR7 having options between Bendtner and Chamack when it comes to those perfect, curling crosses, was, just, a little exciting…
    Theo is just coming back. They took him out, with a little help from a blinkered referee, for three months in the home game last season. So, just being extra cautious there, as he’s obviously ‘injury prone’, especially when someone is allowed to play hacky sack with his legs, repeatedly. But, you’re probably right, he has to start. After all, they felt the need to ‘take him out’ for a reason.
    Tomorrows referee is not my favourite. Oh no.
    On dealing with such biased and jaundiced officials, the post at Untold covering the history of FC Start is an amazing story.

  140. Vidic: Ferdinand return is like ‘new signing’ 😛

  141. I love those crosses!

    Just been offered Chelsea v Wolves, 3 course dinner in some fancy box as a comp. Blueurrrrgh! Can you think of anything worse? I feel dirty just for having been asked. The cheek of it!

    Bill – you want them?

  142. whats a comp, limps?

  143. MJ Gunner

    I believe he means as in a complimentary gift. Most frequently heard in a sentence like “I spend so much money at the Belagio Casino each year, that this year they comp’d me an pent house!!” which means you dont have to pay for it!

  144. Is anyone else as beyond excited as I am for football to be back?!? WOOO!!!


  145. and its becoming abundently clear im talking to myself!

  146. efects of Interlull, NJ

  147. now WTF is G4E doing on top of me????

  148. Ole:

    There is no doubt that we clearly had the worst time with injuries last year. Our attacking options were decimated. Losing RVP when he was in absolutely brilliant form was certainly a huge blow. We had a deep squad of attacking players, but still ran into problems up front. No way we could have had enough players to cover for the number of injuries. We certainly were not the only team with injuries. We were actually lucky compared to the other teams with regard to the number of games we got from our first choice back 6 compared to the other top 4 teams. Wenger has said repeatedly that our defending was the main culprit for last years problems. Not so sure we can just blame that on injuries. Our goals conceded/game did not really change when the injuries stacked up at the end of the year and our rivals had just as many if not more injury issues in the back.

  149. Get out of the way NJ 🙂

  150. Well, let’s hope Walcott keeps the form he had before he got injured this season, and we probably wouldn’t have to miss RVP too much.

  151. New post up. Yeah, I know it’s early and yeah, I’m surprised as well. Must be Saturday!


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