Stone Cold Friday: When Maturity Is Mistaken For Desperation

“There are two kinds of spurs, my friend. Those that come in by the door; those that come in by the window.” How wrong you were Tuco, how wrong you were. There is a third type. Those Spurs always finish below Arsenal but hopefully will do us a favour by beating Manchester United tomorrow. To keep you going, here’s Darius

There’s a vicious rumour doing the rounds that Arsenal is so desperate to win a trophy, they’ve become outright flat track bullies in the Carling cup. While every team now uses the league cup to blood youngsters and give fringe players a chance for some pitch time, Arsenal are being ungentlemanly by unleashing a full strength side.

The irony of all this is the fact that not so long ago, Arsenal was being berated for not taking the cup seriously and bringing the game into disrepute. You have to ask though, that if Wenger makes 9 changes to a team and still ends up with a formidable starting 11, isn’t he fielding his under strength team?

So are we that desperate?

You need to get past the smoke screen of the most quoted statistic in English football – ‘…but Arsenal hasn’t won anything in 5 years’. You need to climb over the mountain of lazy clichés and shameless bias of commentators who tempt you to throw your TV right out the window.

You need to get past the intellectual masturbation unleashed on us by pundits and hacks as they fumble in search of a plausible explanation as to why they think project Arsenal has failed. You need to get past the vocal rabble that is a minority of anti-Arsenal Arsenal supporters who seem hell bent on sending Wenger and a few players to the gallows if we end up with another barren season.

For only when you get past this muck, do you realise how far this team has travelled on this audacious journey to greatness. Not enough credit is given to Wenger, and to individual players for the continuous development that has seen this team grow right in front of our eyes.

Granted, our patience has been tested many a time, but that is the price we have to pay to see this vision through. It’s unfortunate sometimes that this 24-hour – give me what I want now culture has thrown the concept of patience out of the window. Few people seem prepared to build things any more, a quick fix being the order of the day.

What the Carling cup is showing us is that Arsenal has a formidable squad that will challenge on all fronts. It’s a squad that has been brought together by a painstaking and meticulous process of a youth development program tempered with a sprinkling of experience. It’s a squad that is developed to stand us in good stead for a long time to come.

What was also interesting this week was the revelation of the psychology that Arsenal applies as part of the development process. It was always rumoured that the Professor demanded intelligence in his players, but a rare glimpse of the hoops players have to jump for the right to wear an Arsenal shirt was fascinating.

The psychology in part, provides an explanation as to why Wenger only signs certain types of players as opposed to the regulation short-list provided to him by the tabloids every transfer window. This season has seen the introduction of Koscielny, Squillaci and Chamakh – all of who are playing like they’ve always been part and parcel of the Arsenal setup.

What is also becoming more evident is that Arsenal’s impending – and in my view inevitable success is a fact that has started to sink in for many in the establishment. I know that as fans, we tend to get aggrieved by the sometimes criminally biased representation that Arsenal gets in the media. The ‘last kick of a dying horse’ comes to mind when you reflect soberly on the begrudging acknowledgement we occasionally get.

The job is not yet done, but to use one of Wenger’s nuggets, the ‘ingredients’ are there. It’s also noticeable that we’ve collected a few more along the way – like the skill of diplomatically applying the dark arts – for the good of the team.

The team’s mental strength is not an issue for me – we have it in abundance. The rub of the green has also become a familiar bedfellow in recent times. What has been most impressive for me though is the patience and maturity that the team has shown when it has been called for.

You can see it in the way we close out games, or the way we grind and wear down teams with pace, stamina and Wengerball – before licking them to submission.

Teams are also ill-advised to consider Arsenal a soft touch, a myth that has become conventional wisdom if you believe some commentators. The boys are consistently showing that they can ‘take care of themselves’ to use a common euphemism for having a no-nonsense approach or response to teams attempting to bully us off the park.

When people talk about desperation and a clamour for the Carling cup – I think they totally miss the point that Arsenal has become a different beast – one that is also the best at making beasts look beautiful.

The team know what they have to do – and they’ll take it a game at a time. The prizes are not being handed out yet, contrary to the procession being prepared down the Kings Road. The least we can do is enjoy the ride – it’s going to be a fascinating one this season.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on October 29, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 128 Comments.

  1. Nice read Darius!

    We have an exeptionnal squad, full of young, talented and experienced players and this year surely must be the year where project wenger brings result and make all those “experts” eat a fair chare of humble pie!!


  2. Morning…

  3. Yeah man.

  4. Nice one Darius.

    I’ve got a feeling that we’re about to go on a decent unbeaten run, catching up with the Chavs in time for their tougher months ahead.

    “if Wenger makes 9 changes to a team and still ends up with a formidable starting 11, isn’t he fielding his under strength team?”

    He is, and what an amazing under strength team – good times to be a Gooner!! 🙂

  5. Kuuuuuudos for Arsene’s project. To me the only manager who matters is the one who makes a team and Wenger as a Manager does exactly that. Other managers buy their teams.

  6. What annoyed me about the Newcastle match is that there were no comparisons made between our team selection and the Chavs, and the different outcomes. We fielded a team with 9 changes (still remembering we’ve got our best CB and striker out injured), and nailed them 4-0. The Chavs fielded a similar team to ours (albeit far more expensive) against a similar Newcastle team and they got beaten. If it were the other way round, they would all be saying “and there’s the difference between a winning team like Chelsea and a weak, inexperienced team of boys like Arsenal”…

    It annoys me, but then i take a step back for a second and remember that all these pundit/presenter/ex footballer wankers are going to look like even bigger fools when we’re bringing home at least one trophy this year.

    I also think that the way this team is developing, it might be enough to persuade Cesc to stay for a couple more years…? He’d be making a massive mistake if he left when this team is on the tip of a very prolific and successful iceberg…

  7. Excellent article – the mockers will continue to mock, but I, like you, believe the success of what is being built is assured.

    When was the last time a manager was given time to build something as solid and lasting as Wenger is trying to build? When it starts to bring in the trophies, I believe it will continue to do so for many years. Granted it still needs to get started but I can genuinely see that this season.

  8. Our squad are like sharks who have not yet had a taste of blood! Woe betide the nay and doom sayers if they finally do. There will be on trophies left for other teams. If are accused of fielding a strong team when you rest 11 first team players ( 9 v.Persie and TV5), then something dreadful is in the pipeline. The funny thing is that next year, we would rest 22 players and still field szczesny, eastmond, bartley, nordveit, gibbs, lansbury, wilshere, ramsey, theo, b52, JET. Woah! The good days are in and better days …

  9. nice article man

  10. I’m still unconvinced what Cesc will do. For a guy who loves our club so much, plays his heart out week in week out, and is captain of a team that will win major honours… The fact that he would have gone to go Barca the summer gone means that his deep burning desire is not at Arsenal.

    Obviously he would love more than anything to captain this team in a trophy winning campaign, but you can bet your house on Cesc leaving if Wenger said we don’t need you no more, or even said to him the choice is yours.

    It doesn’t sadden me anymore, and I am glad Cesc is Cesc and expresses how he feels.. NOT LIKE ROONEY, who cried his way to a new contract. I have faith too that Wenger can lure Cesc to staying longer, and his recent comments suggest that is what he intends to do, and the team looks like they intend to too..

    It’s one of them where we will have to re-evaluate the situation in the summer, and it will all be discussed behind closed doors I imagine.

    And yes, this is the real ChrisGoona!!!

  11. “Intellectual masturbation” – the preferred activity of those who think they’re wankers?

  12. I am finding the whole ‘fielding a too strong a team’ hilarious!!

    Come on.. we had Djourou, Gibbs, Eboue, Eastmond, Bendtner, Theo, Rosicky, Vela, and the Polish lad who I ain’t going to bother attempt writing his name anymore.

    9 CHANGES.. all are likely to miss out on a starting place on Saturday. With… Nasri, Arshavin, Cesc, Chamakh, Song, Squillaci, Fabianski, Sagna, and Clichy all coming in for a start.

    Sorry but the media have once again proved what a bunch of incompetent twats they are. With Vermaelen, Ramsey, Diaby, and RvP still to come back, we have the BEST BEST BEST squad in Europe. FACT

  13. My wish is for this team to go to Old Trafford and the headline next day will be “It was a game of men against boys… and the boys won.”

  14. Great blog !

    Nice to see some positivity 🙂

  15. You should come here more often then OM! It’s the place to be if you’re down with being a true Arsenal supporter…

  16. “we have the BEST BEST BEST squad in Europe. FACT”

    Love it Chris. I’d challenge anyone to name a better 25 players playing for one club.

  17. Another great one Darius. Well done. I’m glad that Wenger has shown ‘intent’ by bringing Fabregas into the Newcastle game even when we were leading.This means he wont hesitate to field the ‘first team’ when/if we get to the final and have to meet Man Utd. As HIM said above, once these boys have a first taste of ‘blood’ (trophy), Europe should beware cos another team of INVINCIBLES has been born! If its like this this season, it will be even better next season! Go gunners!

  18. Luke
    Hahahaha it would be great with a photo of Evra is head down and Rooney in the background counting his money.

    After the eventful summer and turn of events which showed that Wenger only stated what he was sure of, I can’t see him saying at the Shareholders meeting that he believes Cesc will stay for a few more years without having an agreement with Cesc.

    I can’t see him spending all those years at Arsenal, having an incredible team being built around him and just go away when the plan is finally coming together. It might be my optimistic side talking but especially if we win trophies this year he will stay and enjoy at least two or three years of Wengerball and success.

    For all his desire to play for his home team, Cesc is an intelligent man and surely he must see that the best for him is to be challenging for the big trophies built around him and then go to Barca once Xavi is starting to feel his age in order to take his place directly instead of moving now and being part of a rotation and just being messi’s team mate instead of Arsenal’s iconic captain.

  19. You look at this team and the players who have come through the system and you have to agree that we are now genuine contenders for all trophies. And it’s frightening to imagine in the current youth team there are possibly three or four others who might be pushing for the first team in the next year or two! With financial doping hopefully coming to its natural death and teams no longer able to afford zillion dollar salaries- many will be looking at Arsenal and wondering why didnt we see the light then!

  20. RVP and Ramsey back in full training next week!!!

  21. I agree with gunnerluc – on both points! that would make a lovey picture wouldn’t it…

  22. *Challenging for trophies with a team built around him

  23. Steven

    I think Cesc needed the run out more than anything. Plus, Newcastle were starting to get a bit too much possession during the second half for Wenger’s liking.

    It’s a shame Lansbury didn’t get a chance, he must be gutted but he needs to push harder. I felt Eastmond had a pretty solid game though, while Denilson looked a bit tired at times even though he mopped up nicely. Song will surely come in on Saturday with possibly Denilson dropping to the bench.

  24. we must just win this trophy nomatter who says what. We must even field our 1st 11 if need be. Its the only trophy we have a realistic chance of winning and lets do it. It could spark our revival into a force again and we will get our respect back. Chelsae has always fielded strong teams in teh competition and we shud not be ashamed of fielding strong teams at all.

  25. Was Wenger thinking of Cesc when he answered the question about crazy wages? Cesc on £200K per week with Arsenal in the future. Possible?

  26. Let us not look ahead of West Ham. Last year we were flying and then dropped points (at their place I think). We didn’t play well and their was one dubious penalty against us which compounded matters. As Ole has insisted, all the good work over the past three or four games could be undone by taking WHU for granted.

  27. Jena – It’s not the only trophy we have a realistic chance of winning. We have a great chance in all competitions this year, particularly Europe i think. We can combat the teams in the EPL who think they’ve ‘figured us out’ (and we’ll still be right up there come May) but the teams in Europe aren’t as prepared to face our fluid movement, and will be less inclinded to just try to kick us off the park. Beating Shakhtar like that is no mean feat, and with a full team, anyone is beatable now. We’re not going to have as many problems if we get major injuries towards the end of the year as ALL the ‘2nd choice’ players are able to come in and play effective and clinical football – which we haven’t had the luxury of for years… We’re on the brink of special things this season – for sure.

  28. True Shotta. Still, i can’t see them getting anything other than a drubbing tomorrow – on current form anyway…

  29. We havent won anything for 5 years and thats a fact jack.

  30. Jena you are being unrealistic thinking this is the only realistic tropy we can win!!

    Luke I’d kill for such a headline. It still hurts me todate for when they beat us 4-0 during the first half in the FA cup a couple of seasons ago.

    That was obvious our second team on display the other team.We had never played that line-up before . When was the last tie we played the same line-up in consecutive matches anyway?

  31. CG

    I agree about Lansbury.What was that about?He was great at the Lane yet didnt get a look in on wednesday.Yet Vela who was poor again gets a start

  32. Posters like ‘jena’ look increasingly twitchy and deranged with each new week. Excellent.

    Also, you know you’ve had a good week when the only negative you can drum up is to question the future of a 21 year old striker who’s appeared in half of your 14 games already this season and scored three times – after a summer spent representing football-crazy nation Mexico in the World Cup.

    Bit like what folk were saying about Theo 9 months ago. “He will never make it.” That one sounds a bit silly now, doesn’t it?

  33. incoherent there.That was obvious our second team on display the other day*

  34. Wonderful post Darius – the truth spoken eloquently.

    Nice ‘The Good, The Bad…’ quote Yogi.

    “There are two kinds of people in this world – those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig. ”

    And right now, I’d say we have the ‘loaded Guns’ .

    Woop – woop.

  35. We knew what you meant firstlady!

  36. All this talk about us not winning anything in 5 years is really really pissing me off.

    Our 5 year record:

    – Qualified for the champions league 2nd stage every year.
    – Finalists, semi finalists and quarter finalists (twice) in the champions league
    – Finalists in the carling cup, semi finalists (?)
    – Semi finalists in the FA cup
    – 2nd, 4th, 3rd, 4th, 3rd in the league

    For fucks sake – not even City, Spurs, Everton or Villa have this kind of record of consistency.

    Take mancs and chavs out of the equation (and their 1.4 billion doping).. and you have a very different picture.

    Only 3 teams have won domestic trophies apart from the mancs and chavs. Liverpool – 1 FA cup ! (on the verge of administration until taken over)
    Spurs – 1 Carling cup !
    Portsmouth – 1 FA cup (on the verge of bankruptcy)

    Why don’t people get any perspective. The domestic scene has been bought by the mancs and chavs.

  37. “Was Wenger thinking of Cesc when he answered the question about crazy wages? Cesc on £200K per week with Arsenal in the future. Possible?”

    I don’t know the answer Luke, though I note as a bizarre coincidence another quote (word for word) from TG,TB & TU is…

    ” Two hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money. We’re gonna have to earn it.”


  38. To be honest, and to back up your piece Darius, the team from this time last year (Liverpool home) is not that wildly different (in terms of squad strength / position) from St James’ Park. However, in the main, the replacements for the players who have left (Senderos, Silvestre, Gilbert, Eduardo)are stronger. Not sure between Merida and Vela though.

    Lukasz Fabianski (Scsznesy)
    Kerrea Gilbert (Eboue)
    Philippe Senderos (Djourou)
    Mikael Silvestre (c)(Kos)
    Kieran Gibbs (Gibbs)
    Fran Merida (Vela)
    Craig Eastmond (Eastmond)
    Samir Nasri (Rosicky)
    Aaron Ramsey (Denilson)
    Eduardo (Walcott)
    Bendtner (Bendtner)

  39. Nailed it Darius.

    In a recession will all these soon to be exposed pundits get another job?

    They can’t all go and work for channel 5.

  40. You all do realise what Arsène is doing is simply not fair on the competition. After years of playing kids, suddenly in his desperation for a trophy Wenger has resorted to playing experienced pros like Denilson, Bendtner, Walcott etc.

    It’s just wrong, whatever happened to the project yoof? It was always doomed to failure. The proof is in the pudding, now that the “project” has failed Arsène has to field his experienced players in hope of winning the league cup.

  41. LOL @ wengerball

  42. “What was also interesting this week was the revelation of the psychology that Arsenal applies as part of the development process.” — I must have missed this, where was it?
    Great article, though, thanks.

  43. Consols.

    Ian Wright tried to jump ship from Talk Shite to Channel 5. And look what happened.

    Sunday’s game against Man City should have been a very loud bitch slap to those that have championed the culture of brazen cheque book management. As Poliziano eloquently put it – City were not unlucky to go down to 10 men after 5 minutes; they went down to 10 men solely because of Arsenal’s superiority that made it impossible for them to handle a Chamakh attack.

    The way Arsenal dispatched that game totally defied the ‘big bucks’ culture in football – a culture that has become the reality for most of these pundits.

    They hate Arsenal because what we’re doing and the success it breeds simply illustrates that they’ve been full of shit for most of their post playing professional lives.

  44. Darius

    Exactly, if they are proved wrong then they just look like idiots, and they can’t handle that. It’s why they come out with the most biassed and naive sheep like predictions time and time after time. Now they are getting unstuck, they are using various types of excuses to excuse themselves.

    City could have spent 700m on their team, they still wouldn’t get the ball off a well-drilled team of scouted quality players, who are mentally sharp, and have trained for numerous years together. The Arsenal way.. is the only way.

  45. Nice read as usual Darius. The squad we have is great but we’ve got to remember that the sharks are larking. We all know that Barca wants Cesc and we can now add Denilson to the equation. Sagna, Clichy and Eboue also have suitors. And I wouldn’t be surprised by an approach for Gibbs by either Mancity, Manutd or Chelsea if he doesn’t become a regular. Song looks like he’d make it big in Serie A or La Liga. Wilshere will develop into a franchise, the kind of player who’d command a +100,000,000 pound fee. Let me leave it at that because all our players will be in demand. In short we will have to go to the next level where we’ll also have to pay 200,000 salaries. That’s alright as long as we do it in a sustainable manner.

  46. Kenyan Gunner.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the sharks. If Barca couldn’t prize Cesc off Arsenal this past summer, their future attempts are going to be weaker. They blinked first. Wenger has already proven his resolve and determination to keep away the sharks – there’s no reason to think that we won’t do it again. Arsenal doesn’t need the money, and the only way we’ll let a player on our books go to another club is if we feel they won’t add value any more.

    Arsenal is actually in a very strong position. And I’ve suggested in the last year or so that one of the best signings we made last year was Ivan Gazidis – the dude is a class act and a heavy weight. Off the pitch – a combinaiton of Gazidis and Wenger is also very formidible and not to be scoffed at.

    I really don’t see Arsenal painstakingly going through a long term development project just to let go when the big bad wolf huffs and puffs.

  47. LA@ 11.07 am – I agree entirely.

    Jonny @ 11.14 am – Excellent stuff!

  48. The Good, the Bad and The Ugly! Missed that! Well done, Jonny. Well done, YW. Well done, Darius. Well done, Sergio Leone. Hm… Sergio Leone and Arsenal and Fridays… Cause for a themed celebration…

  49. Beautiful!

  50. Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive . . . . . . . . . . . . . trouncing City and then rolling over the toons with an almost completely different line-up has set us all ablaze – with the manner as well as the matter.

    So no need to get impatient about trophies. “The project” has years to run and many, many joys still to savour.

  51. yep,the media seem mighty pissed off that arsene is taking the cc seriously-if you call putting a strong SECOND TEAM OUT .”desperation”they call it-would that be the same desperation applied to MANURE & CHAVS who have won the competion putting full strength teams out?no,of course not-we’re cheating!!they conveniently omit us fielding a kids team out in the final to play the chav billionaires-would they have done the same ?no chance!!

  52. how fickle is the football fan? A month ago Wenger was being slagged off for not spending money, not buying a goalie, losing to WBA. All of a sudden we’re going to win the Champions League with our Reserves. An amazing turn around!

    A 1-0 defeat to the Hammers tomorrow and we’ll all be back to square one…”Bloody Wenger, you shudda bought a goalkeeper! We’ll win nuffin with these kids!!”

    You’re only as good as your last result – come Sunday we might not be very good at all.

  53. Denilson new hairstyle is really not on. Doesn’t he know black curls are the way to go??


    Boxing day it is then!

    P.S Back the **** OFF VeLa bloody chavvy retards!!!

  54. Nasri highlights vs. $iteh:

    Not sure if there was an opportunitythere for a SN8 shot near the 3:30 mark.
    Tip top tippy tapping.

    Mark Noble playing well? West Ham should be a fun game.

  55. Great read. COYG!!!

  56. Sorry Merlot, are you talking about 10 man City? Or the spend string barcodes hardly anything to brag about or so the BBC commentator had to tell us every 10mins! Oh along with half a decade of no trophies.

  57. I think AW said Cesc will probably stay longer because he knows Farca don’t have the spare cash to offer his true value, let alone the amount AWv would want to consider selling at! Cesc is like a kid with separated parents. He loves them both and doesn’t want to offend either of them. One day Farca may admit they can’t really afford him and then he could well extend his contract with us. Or they will stump up some serious cash and Cesc will move back to his mums house.

  58. Quite right, Maria. Reducing opposition teams to 10 in the first 5 minutes with a slippery through ball to Chamakh is a tactic we should file away for future use.

    And as for the commentators – when are the broadcasters going to give us a mute button so we can hear the crowd but not the drivel? Twice the pleasure and half the pollution.

  59. ‘give us a mute button so we can hear the crowd but not the drive’

    i dont know merlot – i find myself shouting at the TV over their comments – just like my grandad used to – makes me smile when i catch myself doin it – cause i use to laugh at him when he was at it. 🙂

    But ill have to watch out for shouting at wylie coyote when one of his plans to catch the road runner fails!! – Then im just goin insane!!

  60. Shooting advice for when were passing it around the box 20 times –

    When you have to shoot, shoot! Don’t pass!


  61. The option to turn-off commentary and still get the sound of the game and the crowd was available on the BBC’s Six Nations coverage. It worked really nicely.

    For it to be introduced to televised football though, it would require the commentators to show some humility and accept that everyone under the sun wishes they’d just shut the front door. Can you see the their egos handling that? Not sure.

    I think it would be a triumph for football fans and it would force commentators to better themselves in order to stay in a job. It would force the producers to look to interesting, knowledgable football writers and sports experts rather than people who might otherwise be reading traffic reports flanked by idiot ex-players.

    You know? – “You don’t always have to go direct to a racehorse for a good tip”

    Consolsbob – we could take it one step further – the red button at the top of the screen could trip a spring-loaded extending metal arm with a boxing glove on the end, primed in front of Robbie Savage’s face… or even a wrecking ball.

  62. happy friday peeps!

  63. I am all for muting the wankers. They prove that they are worse in their commentating than referees are with their refereeing. The referee has intense pressure and a split decision to make a decision. While a commentator has about 10 secs to a minute, along with a slow motion replay to make a fair judgement.

    20% of the time the referees get it wrong
    but 50% of the time the commentator shows how biassed he really is.

    Why any of the broadcasters have failed to rectify this area of our game just shows what slow strides forward the game is making. All this technology, replays, touch screen play cams and whatever.. and the commentator is a racist pillock who thinks hes still living in the 70’s!

  64. Happy Friday, mj!

    Random thought of the day:

    – Alex Song seemed really to start to become the player he is once he’d settled down, married his girlfriend and started a family.
    – Ni-class Bendtner seems to have improved in the same way after making similar steps in his life.
    – I have heard before that AFC encourages a player to settle down early.

    Arsenal are a great advert for marriage, I’ve decided. There are other teams around that are not.

    I wonder if it would be weird for an Arsenal fan to make a similar decision based on those values. If the girl found out that a football team were behind the reason for the proposal of course… hm… might not go down too well…

  65. Classic post, CG. Let’s picket the f*ckers.

  66. Jonny @2:09:

    Hope you enjoyed Bendtner’s goal.
    “He must have a foot like a traction engine!”
    : )

  67. Yes, that was excellent, Jonny!
    I reckon there should be a little Ennio Morricone whistle flourish each time Carlos Vela touches the ball or makes a run. I might write to Ennio and suggest it… have a little orchestra pit down at the foot of the North Bank.


  68. Go to the game or go to a pub which is so noisy you cant hear the commentators.My local is packed with Gooners and you can barely hear the commentators Its easily done just get off your backsides

  69. @ Limpas – It would be anyday better than being caught sleeping with a teammate’s wife..

  70. I too hate the commentary.. I usually change the language to one I don’t understand.. This way atleast I’m able to enjoy the game without shouting at the plundits all through the game..

  71. makes sense, IG, that way you won’t miss out the oohs & aahs, plus the crowd noise. I am sure everyone’s heard that Brazilian (?) commentator’s orgasmic -GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL

  72. Some Gooners are worse than the commentators though aren’t they, ken.

  73. mj,
    I love the Brazillian commentator’s scream of about a minute for any goal scored. it shows their passion for the game.. I try to watch some Brazillian football every week. Love their passion..

  74. Darius:

    As always very well written. Wenger seems to use the CC to serve a purpose. This year he is playing stronger teams then past CC because has the deepest squad we have seen and it gives his first teamers who are not regularly starting a chance to play. Seems logical to me. Does he want to win the CC this year more then others? Possibly, because he knows he has an excellent chance and I suspect he would like to get the no trophy in 5 years monkey off our back . IMO the trophy would be great but is not the major motivation. No one except Wenger really knows and either way who cares? I do not understand why we flog this whole media hatred and persecution complex to the extent that we do. Who cares about what the media says and thinks? The media always has and always will glorify winners because thats what sells newpapers and advertising and ultimately their job is to sell. If we start to win a trophies and dominate the way that many of us think we can then we can become the media darlings and it will not really change anything except we will have to find something else to worry about.

  75. Finsbury & Limpar – nice shift to The Day Today,

    The proof is in the pudding and the pudding in this case is a football. BOOF! Eat my gooaal! The goalie has got football pie all over his shirt.

    Yes Bentdner’s strike was delicious BTW. Bit easier to back yourself when there are a few on the board of course but good to see.

    I’m not against passing the ball for an opening but I have long felt that mixing it up a little more than we do would surely create more openings and introduce the element of surprise a little more.

    Can’t believe how we managed to turn Rosicky from a player who regularly scored of 3oyd screamers into one who can’t score from outside the box. Sure the rest of his game is looking good but I LIKE 30yd screamers. :0)

  76. You excited about the new Alan Partridge episodes Jonny?

  77. Jonny, he did ping an absolute beauty in the Birmingham game but Foster, in a rare moment where he wasn’t time-wasting, was forced into a rather brilliant save.

    I think we’re only a matter of games away from a screamer.

  78. I’ve always been a fan of our Tomas, as he’s tempted to take a pot from distance, and it’s usually pretty damn close. He’s nestled a fair few in the top corner. Of course, his best asset is his close control, exquisite passing, and that awesome outside-of-the-boot cross from deep. Delicious.

  79. can’t wait for tomorrow, my bet is on Manure & Chavs to drop points & us having a decent win.


    Sub – Vela, Sagna, Schezny, Tomas, DJ, JET/Henri
    Sagna just returned from a layoff so he should rest IMO. Arsha shoulld take a short holdiay to recharge his batteries.

  80. Rosický has not scored this season. He really wants/needs that goal!
    Might not start against West Ham. I’d advise the punters to put some notes down on Rosický scoring in the upcoming CL games.

  81. Am I the only one that thinks that the last thing Arshavin needs is a rest? The guys needs to get trim and build his fitness up. He had a good rest over the summer. He needs to play himself in to our team, because he needs to prove his worth. There’s a lot of talk about him dropping out of the team when RvP returns, because he’s the weakest link. His stats for this season have actually been impressive, but he’s admitted himself that he’s not feeling all that fit. A break is the last thing he needs…

  82. I think West Ham’s defence might be just the rest he needs.

  83. Looking forward to Boxing Day, Maria.

    As for commentaries, there has to be a reason why muting the commentators yet keeping the crowd noise is not an option on any channel for football. Rugby yes, football no.

    Can anybody suggest a non rude explanation? Could it be that Sky and the BBC actually do know that many would choose to lose the fools? That they know their coverage is actually piss poor? If so, then that makes them more of a disgrace as broadcasters than we already think them.

  84. Clever, funny and true Limpar 🙂
    He needs one of those games where he is the star man (difficult I know when we field a team full of stars).
    He’ll be influential throughout, make some crucial challenges, and score a hat trick. Job done.

  85. Limestonegunner

    Bill, the media also love an underdog, at least in the US, so right now my Giants are quite the darlings. What chance do you give your Rangers to come back and even up the series at home.

    Btw, I do think that you are broadly correct about the media glorifying the winners. The one caveat I have is that there is quite a lot of anxiety about the foreign manager and foreign team–the xenophobia–that can creep in as well and fuel resentment against Arsenal. Lots of PL teams have foreigners but recently Arsenal has had few English players in its squad much less first 11. That is starting to change and perhaps that will help our media image.

  86. I haven’t really got much to add on the subject to be honest. I also wish that you could turn the commentary off. I can’t think of any instance where it has been of interest or usefulness. It merely aggravates me, which is a shame, especially when we’re winning. I’d much rather have the crowd singing their hearts out, and enjoying the game.

  87. consolbob,

    it could be my mind playing tricks on me but didn’t sky offer the option of stadium noise only when they launched their red button extras? I don’t know if it lasted though. That makes me think that it wasn’t popular or, knowing sky, didn’t give them enough of a chance to hype up their exclusive showing of Rotherham v Grimsby on Sky Super Ultra Special Mega Tuesday.

  88. Avaris, Arshavin’s fitness is a quandary. Arsenal players are amongst the fittest around yet AA has never, to my view, looked fit enough. All a bit odd…

  89. Limestone:

    Your right, the media does love an underdog with personality and that certainly is your Giants. My team had that before running into your buzz saw. My Rangers have looked like crap. All the mojo we had flew out on the plane when the Yankees left town. I really thought we were the better team but so far I could not have been more wrong.

    We still have a chance if we get our mojo back. I think Colby Lewis will pitch a good game Saturday, if we can somehow pull a win on Sunday then hopefully Cliff Lee will be back to his best on Monday. The only chance we have is to win all 3 here in Arlington. No chance we could go back to San Fran and win both games. Good luck.

    Regarding the last paragraph I guess I do not worry about that. Certainly there is some degree of xenophobia and that puts a little bit bigger target on our back. Unfortunately that is human nature and IMO just not worth worrying about because there is nothing in the world we can do about it except worry. The xenophobia will always be there to some extent because Wenger is an intelligent, sauve, well spoken Frenchman which will never resonate as well with the average Englishman as someone like Fergie, the rednosed ruddy Scotsman. IMO if we start to win, the xenophobia will fall to the background and all the media wankers will start claiming that they knew all along that Arsene had a great plan. Like all of us they like to be right. Their job security depends on being right being popular and selling advertising. Oh well.

  90. Limestonegunner

    Random thought of the day–I just watched Arsene Wenger’s pre-match interview on ATVO (not the press conference) and he didn’t know that he had been nominated for the new “Coach of the Year” award associated with the FIFA Ballon d’or award. Astonishing! He had just been saying that in a WC year the Ballon d’or nominations would be dominated by players who had also done well in that competition, so he joked that he had only been commentating at the WC and didn’t think that counted for very much. Then he graciously acknowledged that it was an honor to be recognized but that he felt other coaches had done more to merit the award this year than him, those that had won major trophies like the WC or CL. It was very classy and very humble, in an elegant and natural way.

    Earlier he had talked about how players cannot avoid media hype anymore so it was important instead to deal with it by taking a humble approach to yourself after every good game.

    In a world of arrogance and self-promotion it is very encouraging and heartening to see real humility–not a false one but a healthy one. Obviously, people of such achievement who operate in the public eye have to have a strong ego, confidence, and a determined will to compete and perform. However, Arsene Wenger illustrates that it is possible to combine these qualities with humility. That, in fact, humility and self-confidence actually go hand in hand as important values that ground players. I am sure this plays a role in the kind of players that he recruits and develops, as we have been discussing since LA and NJgooner posted the article about Crovoisier and his psychological exam.
    I think many commentators on this blog have pointed out the sacrifice Wenger has made for the club by sticking to a developmental policy while the stadium was being built and the housing development project at Highbury was being financed. I think he has been as competitive in his pursuit of excellence and desire to win, but his humility has been essential in following such a difficult path.

    I so enjoy his interviews because of his intelligence and insight. Today, I was most impressed as well by his humility.

  91. Agreed Supercod. It’s always seemed a bit odd to me too. It’s well known that he has no interest in defending, but if your manager tells you that you need to help out more covering that left side, you do it. What I fear though, at the moment, is that he hasn’t even looked that sharp when going forward. Those moments of genius, sure, are lovely to see, but are becoming too few and far between. I hope he finds his form again, because on a good day he is unplayable.

  92. well said, Limestone. The best thing is that you see that in most of our players & in our game too!

  93. Limestonegunner

    Bill, I hope you are right about the xenophobia receding with success. More importantly, I hope we get to see whether it does or not by watching extraordinary Arsenal success this season and beyond!

    I don’t know how our bats have managed to come alive like that in the first two games. I am sure at Arlington, your Rangers will even things up some. I hope we get one of them. Good luck! Either way one long suffering team will be ending the wait. A historic team like the Giants really need this for their SF fans since their last win was when they were the NY Giants, but you Texans have been waiting a while to get here too.

  94. Limestonegunner

    MJ, yes, in fact, I am always impressed by how humble, genuine, and well-spoken our players seem to be in their interviews. I am sure they can be immature, silly, rowdy, and make mistakes of judgment like other young men dealing with the challenges of fame and fortune and the pressures of performing at a top level athletically. But, I think they are good characters by and large, and that makes me very proud to watch them. I don’t expect them to be role models, etc…., but it is a very pleasant thing to hear them talk intelligently and seriously about their performances without curt inarticulacy or insecure braggadocio.

  95. Great post, Limestone.
    I will have to check out that video later on. Like you, I always enjoy Wenger’s interviews. He is such a charming, intelligent man. He always makes me smile when I see him. It’s always fascinating to hear him talk about not just football, but world issues and politics. And more often than not, he makes more sense than the politicians!

  96. Braggadocio? I had to google that one.
    It’s such a breath of fresh air to hear our manager and players talk such a good game. They are all very aware of the media, and are very well spoken, even the Englishmen 😉
    Each and every one of them knows how to settle hysteria and can intelligently put together a sentence without pausing every… errr…. few… ummm… syllables.

  97. I think your memory might serve you well, gib.

  98. Indeed, that was a cracker of a game!

  99. 100% agree with you Limestone & Avaris!

  100. I like it here. I’ve read the blog every day for about 2 years, and usually read the comments throughout the day, but have rarely commented before this week. I share similar views and footballing values to most posters on here. It’s a nice, warm, welcoming group of people, and it’s a credit to Yogi that such a culture has grown.
    Anyway, back to the football I guess…

  101. Limestonegunner

    Avaris, I also like that Wenger, despite a near single-minded focus on Arsenal and all-encompassing love of football, is so insightful on political issues. Clearly, he would have been a super successful and influential person apart from football. We are lucky we have him for Arsenal, but I feel a bit guilty that someone with such talents, mind, and values has been kept from making a difference in some other important capacity!

    It was particularly ugly last year that former Villa coach Martin O’Neill went on a ridiculously disrespectful tirade castigating Wenger for having so many opinions about things beyond football and expressing them. It was disgustingly anti-intellectual and small-minded. Arsene makes these guys feel quite inadequate. I’ve noticed that there have been increasing boldness on the part of these nobodies to deride and insult our manager. I find that quite galling. I think the long patience required before seeing the results of building this team in a new way have encouraged or emboldened these ingrates. I really hope this is a multiple trophy season, because I am not as humble and patient as our composed and cultivated manager! I’d like to see them shut up, and given their limited vision that is probably the only way to make them see that they are wrong.

  102. Limestone:

    I suspect the xenophobia will probably never really go away but will be covered over and lost in accolades when this team starts to win. It certainly is an unfortunate part of human nature, totally nonsensical and difficult to understand.

    Your point about long suffering fan bases is spot on. If they were not playing the Rangers I would be cheering for the Giants. Gotta love their spirit. Interesting how a bunch of misfits have captured the Bay area and the national consciousness. My wife was in San Fran for the first 2 games and did not expect the fan reaction in San Francisco. Thought the city would be too “cool” to go crazy for a baseball team. Good luck on Saturday.

  103. Bill…like Limestone says, maybe you should tune into Talk Shite radio and listen to the xenophobic and sometimes outrightly racist nonsense. This before even the Arsenal bias. Your blood will boil.

    @Limestone – great thoughts on Wenger and his intellect. I have a strong feeling that when he retires, One of the UN agencies – if France doesn’t do it – is going to approach him to be a goodwill ambassador of some sort. What Wenger has is that X factor that you cannot buy. When he talks, people around the world (except the football establishment in England) will listen.

    What more can you want from an ambassador who has earned the respect of millions of people around the world from all walks of life. It wouldnt’ matter that he’ll be talking about war and peace, or social justice and human rights; when Arsene Wenger speaks – people around the world will stand up and listen.

  104. We are so privileged to have such an intelligent man so focussed on Arsenal. If he’d been in any other field of work, he would have been equally as successful, just perhaps not quite so famous. Wenger for prime minister! 😉

    I was appalled by O’Neill’s outburst last year. I had always held him in such high regard as a manager, but he stepped over the line on that one. As you say, though, I think it’s jealousy. How many other managers have the freedom to do what Wenger has done at Arsenal? How many other managers would have the intelligence, foresight or guts to carry out such a task?

    Our time is coming. While pretty much every other club is falling apart, Arsenal are developing in to a strong club, with results starting to show on the pitch. It might be the wrong attitude to take, but I am actually quite content with the progress we have made over the past 5 years, and wouldn’t be absolutely distraught if we didn’t win this year. I do think though that we have a stronger chance now of winning some of those elusive trophies this year, than any year before.

    I think that some people have only just realised that our squad is ridiculously strong compared to our opponents. That we rested our “senior” players on Tuesday, and still fielded a “weaker” team, and STILL managed to beat a premier league team 4-0, is a testament to the hard work and determination from Wenger to make Arsenal successful now, and for years to come.

  105. Also, it made a few of my friends laugh when I told them of a stat I saw on here earlier in the week. The one about our oldest possible line-up being about 27, wasn’t it?

  106. Limestonegunner

    Bill, Thanks for the well-wishes–good luck to your team.
    Darius, I wouldn’t be surprised by your prediction coming true about his post-football career. He has a very global vision so I’d prefer the UN involvement than something just for France.

    Avaris, I will be crushed if we don’t win something significant this year, because we really have it in our hands, barring injuries like last season, to do something special. I am convinced we are a better team than last year and that only ManCity has really improved–and that is no guarantee they will come together as a team, as a squad.

    Let’s hope the lads are up for the derby–West Ham has given us trouble on occasion unwarranted by the gap in quality between our sides. So we will have to guard against complacency or whatever it was that hit us at home v. WBA. I think with Fabregas back as captain, that is much less likely to happen.

  107. @limestonegunner… AW is for the football world what John Snow is for the news world, though Arsen maybe even a bit cooler.
    Where SAF rules with fear and punishment, AW rules with cunning and cleverness. AW does not need to yell to get his meassage trough to his players, he commands respect without being a bully, he knows that buttons to push and how to motivate them, hes just to smart. I think that frustrates alot of pepole. They just cannot get their head aound the idea of winning stuf and being a boss without at the same time also being a complete twatt. They dont see how the two can go totether.

    Many a pundit have tried to outmanoever him in the papers, on the telly and in the radio. They never succeed. They have all learned that if you pick a fight with AW you will eventually loose. Very often it is because he is just soo so so much smarter than them. Hes almost Cesc like, he can see their moves before they se it themselves.
    Honestly it just makes you embarrased when you see the likes of Robbie Savage or Alan Hansen trying to take one at AW or any of his players.

    “Theo got no football brain”. Well whos your daddy now Hansen?

    I mean no matter what happends, no matter the size of the strops and tantrums people have, AW is rarley wrong. He usually wins in the end.

    He must have some serious IQ and EQ.

  108. Bill,

    I don’t think winning trophies will change how the media feel about Arsenal. They don’t hate that Arsenal haven’t won trophies recently, they hate what Arsenal represents. We’re anti-English football to them. That’s what they hate. So screw ’em. My non-Arsenal football friends and I just laugh at the absolute transparency of commentators and pundits distaste for all things Arsenal. They can keep their crap football for all I care.

  109. reading todays post, hats off darius, and the subsequent comments has brought me much joy.


  110. the fact that there is a discussion of wenger finally taking the Carling Cup seriously when he makes 9 changes to the squad is the best news I’ve heard all week.

    What they don’t realize is that, from a logical perspective, they are declaring project youth to be a success. They are saying that our squad is so good that we can make 9 changes, yes 9 CHANGES, and be declared to finally be taking the League Cup seriously.

    And you guys all complain that the media trash us 😉

  111. Limestonegunner

    Sad, appreciate the comments you make. Reminds me that a journalist at his press conference today asked Arsene if he understood the offside rule!!!! Arsene answered, yes, without looking perturbed and proceeded to give a dissertation on its finer points tactically! I thought that captured the issues you raise quite nicely.

  112. Well done again Darius,

    3 points tomorrow and a draw between the Spuds and Mancs (I can’t stand the thought of wanting either of them to win, even though I know a Spuds victory might be more advantagous to us in the long run) and my weekend will be complete!


  113. Darius @ 5:13: I can not tune into to talk shite radio so may be the problem with xenophobia is a lot bigger then I imagine. If so, I have no idea why anyone would go in public and spout anything so stupid. . Whats the use. I understand the anti-Arsenal stuff as it relates to football, because its the same stuff the media does over here and that does not bother me. Screw if they don’t like us and we can shut them up by winning. The xenophobic stuff that is seperate from the football should go the way of seperate toilets and bus stops for people of different color.

    I do believe that once we do start winning everyone in the media will get on the Arsenal bandwagon just because they would look stupid if they ignored success. Most of them will somehow claim that they always knew it would happen. I agree with your sentiment “So screw em.


    You are absolutely right. Myself I would have always been very happy if we won the CC. However, I think Wenger has always done the right thing because it is not worth risking our PL and CL campaigns for a CC trophy. This year we are deep enough that we can put out a really strong side and it actually helps us to strengthen the squad for the league by giving players like NB and TW a chance to get match fitness and stay game sharp. A win/win.

  114. Great post Darius…and good reading today. thanks to all of you.

  115. Bazzinga….

  116. Easy win tomorrow.Maybe 5 or 6 -1

  117. so now it Vela turn .I suppose they never learn from past episode of put down our own player.
    mrdonco we never gone win 5/6 -1.Its a difficult derby match away.2-1 for the gooner

  118. Bill I imagine you can tune into talkshite online if you ever feel the urge to hear the most inept punditry ever! Might be worth giving it a go one day just for a few minutes to see what makes our blood boil so regularly. Between that and 606 it’s amazing I still bother owning a radio.

  119. LordG, I think the game is a home game, but I agree…there are no easy wins.

  120. We have real issues with West Ham for some reason. Last year at their place was the 2-2 draw (after we took a two goal lead), we needed a ridiculously intricate Ramsey goal to beat them in the cup and though we beat them at home, Vermaelen was sent off in the process. Am I also right in thinking they were the first team to beat us at the Emirates?
    Despite us being repeatedly linked with Upson every window since he left us I think the only player of theirs I’d take would be Scotty Parker, what a brilliant guy. Criminal that he didn’t make it into the final world cup team when a useless chump like Barry did. Also of the measly 2 goals the Chavs have conceded this year, one was an average Tevez goal and the other was due to Parker sublimely chipping Cech on the volley from the edge of the box. There’s far more than just ‘English grit’ to his game and he kept the Hammers up by himself last year. I can’t see anyone else on their team capable of causing us real problems aside from Noble who’s on fine form so far this season.

  121. Well said, Bill.

    ” I do not understand why we flog this whole media hatred and persecution complex to the extent that we do”

  122. 5-0 to the Arsenal today.

  123. Oooh well done Limpar with that vid. Top of the class, young man.

    Right, off to write this morning’s post.


%d bloggers like this: