Lack Of Discipline Is Good & New Deal, New Era?

No Darius this morning, too busy saving the Wales. Not quite sure what it needed saving from or indeed why anyone would bother, but each to his own. He would have been better served by saving Arsenal’s disciplinary record which has, according to the tables, gone to pot. No more Mr Nice Guys, propping up the rest of the Premier League and giving hacks great delight as it means that they can turn on Arsene and delight in the hypocrisy of his complaints about bad tackles.

That the logic in such arguments is spurious even by journalistic standards, an unfathomable leap being made that requires the observer to believe that all fouls, cautions and sendings-off are as a result of bad tackles. Obviously this ignores the dissent, professional fouls, etc. which are part of the Premier League. Whilst this was an inevitable storm waiting to happen, Wenger’s chastisment ignores the fact that he is critical of his own players for indiscretions that he berates others for committing.

Whilst his peers – and I use that word in the loosest possible sense – such as Pulis, Coyle, McLeish and Allardyce take great pleasure is reiterating this guff, they miss one salient point. None of their players has sufffered a career threatening injury from a tackle made by an Arsenal player. For all McLeish’s recent comments about Wilshere’s foul on Zigic, his player is not on the sidelines for a year. That in no way defends Wilshere or Fabregas; it offers a different perspective to their complaints.

It has caused some consternation amongst supporters to see the vilification going on; ignore it. Let the press have their moment and we’ll worry about the team itself. A good by-product of this is that the players are losing the tag of southern softies and can no longer be presumed to go North, have their tummies tickled and give over the three points. This Arsenal is not like that. We just do it at home instead.

Happier news emerged from the club last night. Woijech Szczesny signed a new give year deal which puts the goalkeeper pecking order under scrutiny a little, touched upon by myself and Arseblogger in his latest Arsecast. Whilst Fabianski does well, he is still one mistake away from lambasting as the aftermath of the Newcastle game showed. Should he become resolutely inconsistent, I wonder where Wenger turns? Szczesny has a lot of backing amongst the support and after a nervous start at St James’ Park, he performed well. However, this presumes that the younger Pole is ahead of Almunia.

And what of the Spaniard? Would he be happy being Number 2 or 3 in the pecking order? He had done little wrong until the West Bromwich game, arguably as consistent as he had ever been in season’s past. Would he be happy with an apparent relegation. He had a difficult summer, his reputation left in tatters by insinuation and a public-inspired chasing of Schwarzer and others. He came back and performed well enough to ensure he remained first choice. Injury struck at he is sidelined, apparently still recovering but whether this is real or convenient remains to be seen.

No-one could have any complaints if he left in search of first team football on a regular basis under such circumstances, even if it left Arsene in the lurch. Not that I am suggesting he would for he has previously shown a willingness to fight for his place and no indication that this has changed.

Anyway, that’s it for today. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 12, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 131 Comments.

  1. The goalkeeping situation has really become interesting now particularly with Reina announcing his desire to leave Liverpool in January coupled with Bob Wilsons comments earlier last month.

  2. Cheers Yogi – didn’t know you were an Arsecaster! I’ll have a listen when i get home from work…

    It’s going to be interesting to see how Wenger handles the GK situation. I think there must be some ‘convenience’ to the injury, like the ‘virus’ that lasted ages last season. Wenger’s very protective of our players and obviously doesn’t want to come out and say that almunia’s no longer first choice – that could allow some complacency or lack of determination to creep in on Fab’s part, as well as the obvious detremental effect that would have on Al. I can see Al leaving this year, maybe even in Jan. then we’ll have 2 young poles fighting it out for the number one jersey, a bit healthier than all 3 having that uncertainty i think…

  3. Nice post YW.

    Fabianski is firmly the No1 at the moment. Should he revert to blundering it will be very interesting to see who Wenger turns to to replace him. Fingers crossed it does not come to that and Fabianski continues in his current vein.

    More interestingly will be who is regarded as the No2 once Almunia is fit again. It would be humiliating for him to be dropped to No3 goalkeeper, and I can’t see Arsene doing that (in public at least), but it may be the best decision for the future for the club.

  4. Hope that’s not true about our NB52 bomber. Don’t speak any scandinavian languages so could you shed some light on what is actually being said?

  5. Geo//

    He says his in the form of his life, his rehab has been superb and that he is wasting his time at the Arsenal bench. He says wants to leave if the situation remains but his priority is Arsenal.

  6. Are we back to being dirty Arsenal or are we still a soft touch ? I wish the media would make up their minds.

    When it comes to hypocrisy how about `Appy `Arry & his Cattermole comments just a couple of weeks after telling everyone how the game was so much tougher in `his day`.

    The usual suspects turn the other cheek until they get on the receiving end & as Yogi correctly points out our cards this seaon are for a mixture of indicretions & not dirty play .

  7. I can see Bendtner playing for Munich or somebody similar. I don’t think he will ever be 1st choice at Arsenal. Shame he is not quite as good as he belives he is.

  8. Andy … I wouldn’t be so quick to insult the big Dane. When he is in top form, you can’t keep the guy from scoring. He has shown massive improvements last season in his all round game. We need all 3 strikers at the club, and ready when need be. I would be very dissapointed if the reports are true, but I am 99% certain they are Fabregas-ated!!

  9. I am not suprised by Bendy’s comments- he is a good player but currently on form he starts behind Chamakh who has been absolutely maginficent. Pity Bendy had the injury which robbed him the chance to make a mark but at Arsenal you have to compete. Would hate to see him go as he is ideal for the premiership and once he gets a run of games his form should pick up. He is a cocky lad but I think he will stay- Wenger has shown he has faith in him and he adds value to the squad.
    As usual I think the paper has jazzed this up a bit!

  10. Last week it was Chesney in the papers. Now that he has signed a ‘long-term’ contract, Big Nic has taken his place.. I remember reading Big Nic signing a new contract last season..

  11. Thanks Nej.

    Hopefully he’ll hang on in there, as with our injuries he’s bound to get more playing time than most 2nd/3rd choice strikers – surely he knows that?! (not wanting to tempt fate obviously!). He’s looked great when he’s played this year, and he’s our youngest out and out striker don’t forget.

    Hopefully it’s all been taken out of context, he has a great future ahead of him, hopefully at Arsenal.

  12. I am not slating him, he is a decent player. I do think howver that he feels he should be first choice and “the main man” and I don’t think he will ever be that with us. I think he will leave and as long as we get decent cash for him I am not too bothered personally.

  13. Since the original story is coming from Danish press (I’m a Swede), I cannot tell whether this paper is full of shit or not. But Danish press are, in general, far from The Sun-look-a-likes.

    We’ll see about this in a few hours.

  14. Fair enough Andy

    But you can’t blame a player with his record. Van Persie has hardly been Mr reliable, and Bendtner has been the striker to pick up the pieces. I think he is a real handful to defenders, and I don’t think we have seen by any means the best of the lad. How old is he.. 21?

  15. I wouldn’t take too much into this Bendtner article. First with all those shiny advert it seeems to be a Sun newspaper at the best so might not be reliable, second it’s a swedish newspaper according to the domain .se so is it a genuine interview or some quotes taken out of context? I would think the latter. He just came back from injury, Wenger said in his injury news that RVP and Bendtner were not match fit yet and he did seem a bit out of form in the Shaktar match so I doubt he would say I’m in the best form of my life right now. And finally, at the Shaktar press conference he said he was happy with the compettion for places as it help get the best out of players so I hardly see him do a U-turn in a matter of weeks.

    As for Tech9 signing a new contract, this is great news and just show what kind of bullshit the press can print out! He knows Arsenal is the best place to be!

    I really liked the Howard comment on Fab21, it’s good that goalkeepers show some unity because there job is probably one of the hardest in a football team as every tiny mistake will almost always have some consequences.

    I agree with Yogi about letting the press go about how dirty Arsenal are. It just show how schizophrenic the press can be. Not so long ago the players were a bunch of whinging pussies and now they are those brutal criminal who make K.henry, Robinson, De Jong look like little angels! That’s some bloody hypocrisy.

    About that did you see the video on bbc with Fab4 an Walcott? the interviewer ask who in the dressing room would be the energizer, slapping people and having a motivational scream. Cesc just laught and said no one does that we are not so english we are more european! Loved it!

  16. This is just an observation so keep yer knickers on everybody! When I first watched the Arsenal the keeper was Bob, the captain was Frank and the Manager was Bertie. Not so long ago we had Dave from Yorkshire in between the sticks, skipper Tony from Romford, George the Manager and even less long ago the Romford Pele bombing around in the middle of the park! Now the keeper’s ‘Wookash’ from Poland, the skipper is Cesc from Barcelona and the Manager is Arsene from Strasbourg. The’re ALL fantastic, old and new but we haven’t ‘gone continental because one day the skipper will be Jack from Stevenage and he will captain England, playing alongside Theo from Berkshire and Keiran from North London. You know it makes sense!

  17. You arsenal fans are so precious it’s unbelievable. Looking at newsnow and all your top 10 stories are related to bad tackles.

    The fact is that a bad tackle is a bad tackle regardless of whether it causes serious injury or not. Cesc and Jack are just lucky they weigh about the same as a little infant. Any tackles they make, regardless of how reckless it is, won’t break anything.

    The intent and the poor technique is just the same however and deserves red cards.

  18. I’m disappointed in the Bendtner quotes if true. He’s been out for the greater part of 1 year and he expects he has to go straight in & be first choice.

    Very bad attitude.

    Again, if the report is true.

  19. gunnerluc//

    As I said the original story was published in Danish press, “”.
    “Aftonbladet” as I refer to in the link, is by far the biggest newspaper in Sweden, but still a gold-digger-kind of newspaper. However, I do not now if Danish “Sporten” is the same crap or not but when anyone of importance has something to say, they say it “Sporten”. Though, I can tell you for sure – No scandinavian media quotes anyone without any substance in it.

    Bendtner also says, in the article, that he is “hugely dissapointed”.

    Sorry for spelling, I’m in panic at work.

  20. spelling’s fine Nej 😉

    I agree Ole it would be disappointing if he is saying that already after a long spell out. If he’d been fit for the last year and still wasn’t getting chances, i could see where he’s coming from – although he is still very young and patience is needed. Like Chesney knows, Arsenal is the club for him to be at if he wants to progress.

  21. Bendtner is a funny one. He is obviously a good player, but his work rate is not the best and his first touch and ball retention is not always reliable. He can be hit and miss when it comes to finishing as well.


    He is excellent in the air, deceptively quick, and most importantly has the knack of scoring important goals. His goalscoring record is pretty good. I am divided on him. He has a bit of an ego (which is no bad thing sometimes), but I can’t see him establishing himself as our No1 striker. Unfortunatly I think that is what to feels he should be , and will eventually leave to go to a team where he can be just that.

  22. A few years ago i didn’t really rate NB, and thought he would always be a bit of a clumsy player. But he’s improved every year and since coming back this season he’s looked more like a first team striker. I think in a couple of years (when he’s 24?) he’ll start to look the real deal. It would be a shame for him to leave and see him develop into the player i think he can be… These were my concerns with Chesney too when the media decided to twist his words…

  23. goonerandy

    I seriously doubt it, and I don’t see how you can predict him going to play for some mediocre mid-table team. Its a comment you expect from a fan that has predicted that Song, Denilson, Walcott, Fabianski, etc etc would all leave.. you probably have at one point yes?

    Like I said, he is 21 or 22, and has a massive potentital, and obvious room for improvement. He is the star striker for Denmark, and he leads the line very well. He has proved he is reliable, and he can score goals. I don’t see why you would waste your time writing such a comment?

  24. Chris – I never said he will go to a mediocre mid table side. I really don’t know where you have got that from and frankly you have just made it up. I reckon he will grow frustrated at not being a regular starter and leave. I think somewhere like Munich.

    I have never advocated any of the players you mentioned leaving. Whilst I might not think that some of them are good enough for the starting 11, I do recognise that they are good players and having a strong squad is just as important as having a strong first 11.

    I think he will leave because he will grow frustrated, not because I don’t think he will develop into a better player.

  25. Nicklas is a great striker. He has almost everything. If he had RVP’s or Chamakh’s touch he’d be our best striker

  26. That’s a very big shout Ole! I’d counter that by saying if RvP was better in the air he’s be by far our best striker…

  27. Damn him Nicki 52 dats is left 4 him nd le boss.Indeed a player wit B52 quality can cope wit EPL, le boss should go for Lakaku who average one goal per match. Lakaku has all you need in a strike_ shot, accuracy, pace, height nd so all. £15millon will do for a player with his quality. Just 19yrs old.

  28. goonerandy,

    Why is it in the interest of the club for Almunia to be dropped to number 3. he’s still our best keeper!

  29. sorry, didn’t catch the start of that Mr churck… in english?

  30. Geo,

    Fair point. RVP has become better & better in the air though. RVP’s problem is twofold; fitness issues, & some fixation he has, always trying to work the ball to his left foot, when his right foot is better than most players’ strong foot. There’s the way he hits the bar so often which is not a coincidence. There’s his always trying to smash the ball in when he can place it sometimes & he has the ability to do so.

    But he is a fantastic player. His ability to receive the ball, and turn and spot runs around him at the same time, all with one touch is outstanding, and very very good for the kind of game we play. His dead ball quality is great. His physical edge and fight is brilliant.

    I love Robin Van Persie. I wish he were luckier with injuries.

  31. Nej

    I don’t understand Danish or Swede for that matter so I cannot judge what is said in it nor can I judge if this newspaper is reliable or not. I just express my reservation about those stories as more than 90% of the time they are just rubbish. Tech9 example being the latest but I recall a few story over the years coming out of the scandinavian press saying that Bendtner was unhappy at Arsenal but he is still here and he rubbished them a few times already so my take is that it is just another bullshit story but I could be wrong.

  32. Ole – Possibly.

    If Arsene is going with Fab as his No1 which I suspect he is it means Almunia would be the No2. Our other bright young Pole has just signed a new contract after hinting if he didn’t see 1st team football he would be off. Almunia is not the future of the club, whilst the other 2 are.

    Just for arguments sake I would say on current form Fabianski is a better keeper than Almunia. He is howver, a bit of an unknow quantity as as we all know he has never gone particulalrly long without a rick. Has he moved past this? If so, then he should be our No1. As Bill (I think) mentioned yesterday this season was always going to a bit of a gamble where keepers are concerned. These conversation just highlight that.

  33. There’s a tit on one of the youth blogs who goes on and on about how promising Bendtner was at youth and reserve level before his Brum loan – how he’d dribble past older players with ease and could pluck the ball out of the air etc.

    The guy has a point though. You can still catch a couple of his performances on ATVO, and, believe me, first touch was the least of his problems back then.

    I’m a fan of Bendtner’s – He’s strong, good in the air, deceptively quick and I think he might be the best finisher in the squad now Eduardo’s gone…but in the few games he’s had this season, his touch has looked a bit off. In fact it’s never been a strong point since he started playing for the first team. You could argue that the level is different, but we’re talking about basic technique here.

    Is it possible he lost a bit of coordination and dynamism with a growth spurt in his late teens?

    Either way, he’s nearly 23 and, as much as I admire him, he’ll be wanting to make a breakthrough pretty soon.

  34. I agree 100% Ole. They are issues that if he minimised in his game, would make him one of the best in the world (undoubtably). And he has gotten better and better in the air, you’re right. I think NB’s got a more varied array of finishing (with his head, smashing them in or very cute placed finishes), and i love the way he surprises defenders by running at them in his jinky way. Players dont expect it from someone of his size. Hope he stays because he’s only got a few things to tweak (like his touch as you mentioned) before he’s the finished article.

    If we had worldwide media in which we could always trust their integrity, we wouldn’t be questioning any of these articles. But it would be much less fun wouldnt it?!

  35. Andy

    I said you sounded like someone who would predict players like Song, Denilson, Fabianski etc leaving when they were at stages in the Arsenal careers were out of favour. You don’t have to take it as an insult as you probably rubbished Fabianski’s ability early this season. My intention is not to create an argument with you, I am simply pointing out the obvious.

    To me, it is remarkable that you can all of sudden say a player has no future or chance at being a 1st team starter, especially in Bendtner’s case. Like Ole and others have mentioned, he has enough ability already to lead the line if called upon. You did see his goal at Citeh?

  36. OOU – didnt see much of him back then, so you’re saying he’s lost some of his first touch technique? I would have thought that that’s something that would constantly be improving, regardless of anything else… But as i said, didnt really watch him back then.

  37. Chris – I am not wanting an argument either.

    I think Nik will want to leave becuase he really belives that he should be the main striker. Song/Denilson/Fabianski have never made any sound like that and seemed happy to be part of the squad. I may be wrong, but is how it seems to me.

    Also I am not saying that he has no future. Ask yourself this; with the likes of RvP and Chmakh at the club do you think he will ever get ahead of them in the pecking order if everybody is fit. I don’t, and that is why I think he will want to leave. I am not really comented on his ability, but more his place in the pecking order, and where he thinks it should be.

    You are right I did question Fabianski at the start of the season. And I think I had every reason to do so. I still do to a point, but if he carries on as he is I will have had by concerns smashed. I hope that happens.

  38. Excuse bad spelling. typing fast at work 🙂

  39. I don’t think Almunia will walk back in the first team. The protracted sore elbow coming right in the wake of a 3-goal shitstorm seems ominous.

    Did Szcesney sign-on as Arsenal’s no.3? Ostensibly, yes – but he said he was after assurances – it makes you wonder what assurances he was given. I think we could be looking at a new, all-Pole double-header.

  40. Limpar – That is what I was thinking. It is just how Wenger will handle it, I can’t see him humilitating Almunia. I suspect he may be injured for a while.

  41. I’m not so sure technique does necessarily improve with age, Geo. I’d suggest – speaking as someone with absolutely no expertise in this field – that it’s a quality that stays at a relatively constant level once a player has developed physically – around 18 or 19 I’d say. I think that’s true for most players, but there are bound to be exceptions.

    I forgot to mention that Bendtner’s link up play can be stunning at times. His vision is so good that he might have ended up as a number ten had his first touch been better.

    Anyway, ATVO has the whole 05-06 season. You should see some of the stuff he could do, and weep at Quincy and Lupoli’s lost potential.

    In fact it’s possibly the best way to avoid getting to hopeful about guys like JET and Aneke until they actually break through.

  42. Andy

    As quickly as Fabianski, Song, etc asserted themselves as 1st teamers, Bendtner can do the same once again. Competition is healthy, and I think he understands that being at a big club you need a few good strikers. Saying that he will leave to guarantee himself 1st team action is a bit premature when he has worked so hard to get himself into the position he is in.

    Along with the growing frustrating of the ever-non-present Van Persie, I think Bendtner will happily stay and push for 1st team at our great club. He is a winner, not an Adebayor.

  43. frustration*


    Two brilliant pictures!

    I’m yet to read the post and the comments, but the pics I just had to share!. I’ll wade into some juicy nugget a little later

  45. Chris – You well may be right, and I hope you are he is a good member of our squad. I just happen to think he will ask to leave uin time.

  46. OOU – not sure if that’s the case, would be a shame if it is! I know that my technique and touch got better with age, but maybe that was more to do with confidence/experience/composure rather than actual technique – not sure.

    I’ll check that season out for sure though, cheers for that. And i’m sure i will be sad to see those youngsters who didnt quite make the grade. And a very good shout about supporters’ expectations of JET and Aneke.

  47. In 4 or 5 years, I can only remember RvP scoring once from a header. Far and away, this player is technically world class. He is much better suited not as the traditional #9 player, but more in the #10 role like Bergkamp. His vision, passing, shooting, and movement w/o the ball is top drawer.

    I would slot him on the right wing, like Robben plays for Bayern Munich.

    Bendtner is far more dangerous in the air, and far better at winning the aerial 50/50 balls. At the start of last season, everything about Nicki’s game was in sync. Then the groin injury end of October and our for quite a few months. When he returned his form was terrific as was his goal scoring. Hat trick in CL match.

    For his size, his passing skills and vision are Arsenal midfielder quality. – Movement w/o – tactically a high IQ. HE IS ALWAYS IN THE RIGHT PLACE.

    Now that RvP and Bendtner are returning, I can see rotation with Arshavin and Chamakh……as Sagna (Eboue) and Clichy (Gibbs). 60 match season – there are plenty of matches for everyone.

    As far as keeper, I think fans will just have to sit through November and December and see how the performances stack up.

  48. That’s beautiful Gadget! lol

  49. Chris – Here is the interview. Quote and all. It sounds very much to me that he will ask to move should he not break into the side in the near future (which looks unlikely).

    am very disappointed with the lack of time on the pitch. I feel that I have done everything right in the phase of regaining form and I am in the form of my life. I feel that I am better than before the injury, where I was in the starting line-up every time and was close to fulfilling my potential. Now I just lack the little bits and pieces, and that I can only gain in the games. So that’s what I need now.

    That’s it. When I am on 100 % I cannot accept being on the bench.

    I am almost 23 years old and in this part of my career it is important for my continual development and the rest of my career to play regularly, match after match.

    I have been patient for a long time, but I am not anymore. I have shown that I am ready – both in training and in the games I have played. I was only poor against Shaktar Donetsk in Champions League but so was the whole team.

    I knew it would take a couple of games to get into the rhythm, and of course I accept that, but now I am wasting my time on the bench.

    – You play in a great club with many good players. Haven’t others just taken their chances while you were injured?

    I just want to say that I am 100 % good enough for the starting XI in Arsenal. I have the qualities to start on the pitch and I have spent enough time on the bench in my career. If my manager thinks different, fair play then, he’s the one who picks the team, but then I’m in disagreement with him.

    I think it’s reasonable to say that I simply have to move on in my career and that’s the reason I say this right now. I’m just saying what I think like the person I am.

    It’s implied in what I say that if the situation doesn’t change – if I continue to be on the bench in Arsenal – then I have to move on. That’s a given. My priority is clear –as it’s been all the time – to play for Arsenal. I have been very patient but I don’t want to sit on the bench anymore. I want to play regularly and I hope it’s going to be at Arsenal.

  50. Hmmmm, hard for that to be seen as being misquoted. Maybe he’s taken a leaf out of Chesney’s book to get a contract extension 😉

  51. I would be annoyed if it is true. Was it translated?

  52. Even if it were translated Chris, he’s spelt it out pretty emphatically there…

  53. Don’t know mate. It is not suprising though, both he and his Dad have made these type noises before. Either way, I don’t think he is going to get what he wants at the moment.

  54. Well this is Bendtner we are talking about, he is a very confident lad and he ain’t scared to ‘big himself up’. Nothing new.

    Obviously threatening to leave is just a bit too much. Like I said though, the comments can easily have been manipulated.

  55. Chris –

    “When I am on 100 % I cannot accept being on the bench”

    “if I continue to be on the bench in Arsenal – then I have to move on. That’s a given”

    Not really. He has laid his cards on the table. The only reason he got a long run in the side last year was becasue on injuries. If RvP had not been made of balsa wood he would not have started half the games he did.

  56. Ive just read the danish interview where this originated (, and unless it’s all conjured from thin air, what goonerandy posted is pretty much the deal.

    Big words from the big dane, I wonder how Arsene will react to this. Pretty disappointed myself.

  57. Bendtner was partnering RvP in attack at the start of last season, GA. NB52 was sort of coming in from the right. They both got injured around the same time in fact.

    And when he came back he scored a bunch of crucial goals.

  58. California Gooner

    Nikki Bendtner has been saying that kind of stuff for 3 or 4 years now. He has always had a very high opinion of himself, which is fine, except that it tends to diminish just how good the players he is competing with are. RVP, when healthy, is definitely a better player. I kind of seem Bendtner’s at a team like Villa, if he wants to be the star. At Arsenal I can only ever see him as a good squad player who will have some great streaks, never an out and out leader of the club.

  59. OOU – Ah, right you are. With the likes of AA, Nasri, Rosicky, Walcott vying for the wide areas it is doubtful he will start there on a regular basis though. He is the 3rd choice main striker as well, so I really don’t see him cementing a place in the startnig 11 any times soon.

  60. WTF. seriously this dutch manager is nuts and if RVP goes and play again he is a bigger nut

  61. Me either, unless he really makes a push, GA. The competition – guys like Nasri and Theo – improved while he was out, and he’s got to work to get back in again.

  62. Not to mention Chamakh’s arrival!

  63. Strange as it may seem some match time for RvP may even benifit us. Providing he does not get crocked again.

  64. As regards technique I remember reading how Arsene in his first coaching job was frustrated at not being able to get 18-19 year olds to cross the ball properly and consistently. He thought he was doing something wrong and spoke to other coaches.

    They all knew the problem and the concensus was that if you hadn’t instilled basic techniques into a player by the time he was 18 then it wsn’t going to happen.

    Interesting when you consider Arsene’s views on English players and his reluctance to sign older ones. Walcott was 16 and all the other English players at Arsenal have come through the ranks,

  65. Wellington arrives in Jan as well. Obviously we have no idea where Arsene see’s him at the moment but still.

    I wonder how much Bendtner would be valued at. I would guess we could get maybe £14M for him.

  66. Interesting consols… obviously there are different progression rates for each player, but i would have thought that application and dedicated practice could improve almost every aspect of a player’s game. I know I turned into a much more technically proficient player in my early to mid 20s. But they’re the experts who see and train hundreds of players so i guess it’s as you/they say…

  67. Nice post, CB.

    There must be exceptions – Kevin Phillips, Didier Drogba and of course, Ian Wright, must have picked up new skills to reach a higher level in their mid-20s. Unless it was something psychological keeping them back.

    Either way, I wish there was a formula. I hate seeing promising players fade away, and it happens so often.

  68. Post moderated. I basically agreed with CB, and wondered if Drogba, Kevin Phillips and Ian Wright, all of whom were late bloomers, picked up technique later, or whether it was psychological stuff that stopped them from reaching a higher level earlier in their careers.

  69. Maybe its time to sanction his dream move to Barcelona? Aftr all he has said that is what he wants. Maybe some years on their bench would cool his Ego?

  70. I find some truth in that Bob as it is still quite clear that theo still lacks technique in comparison with our other forwards (although he hopefully makes up for that with his pace) our other english 1st team players Gibbs and Wilshere have great technique but started with arsenal at an earlier stage in their development.. It also obviously doesn’t help that theo started playing football at a later stage than most youngsters who make it at the highest level..

  71. I think Theo will always have that “schoolboy” look with the ball at his feet. He rarely has the ball fully under control. His finsihing however seems to have really improved, and that coupled with his pace and inteligent running will see him score plenty.

    We all though he was going to be the next Henry, when in truth I think he is going to be like a faster Freddie. Which of course is no bad thing.

  72. If Bendy leaves does this weakens the team? Without Chamakh yes it does, with Chamakh, Bendtner’s absence will not be so keenly felt. What Bendy needs to worry about in my opinion is the rise and rise of JET. JET as Arsene said is banging the door with both hands and if he gets a foot in he may seriously disrupt the order at the top. As it stands the aces are with Wenger- Bendy has a long term contract and it is up to him to force the manager’s hand. He is good enough to get £10-£15 mil fee so we can a decent return on him. For me though I hope he stays- he will get chances and if he takes them who knows he may just be able to walk the walk having talked the talk!

  73. He will get plenty of playing time, the season is long and you have to rotate if he really said that it’s probably to get a start against Everton. I hope I’m not proven wrong but I don’t see him leaving, so many left to regret it. He is intelligent enough not to make this mistake.

  74. The thing Bendtner, size apart, is a very different player to Chamakh, and they perform somewhat different roles. Chamakh is way better at holding the ball, a linking frontman; it determines his positional play. In this way, Chamakh replaces Adebayor. Chamakh, upfront, is dangerous with his head, and not so much with his feet. He is also good in defence, and typically drifts out left.

    Bendtner is a centre forward who takes the shot from all angles, positions himself to score in all situations, and acts sometimes like an attacking midfielder; and in this way, unlike Chamakh, RvP is his competition for a starting place. Bendtner tends to drift out right.

    All Bendtner needs is a little game time, which I am sure is coming along soon enough. He’s a bit frustrated, that’s all. He has the right attitude, as in “give me the ball, give me the chance”. He’s made a mistake however in talking outside, in this way. AW will have a heart-to-heart, and advise him to check his contract and wind his neck in.

  75. Having had a misguided little rant about Chesney mis-‘quotes’, I not gonna be drawn into it with Bendy. Nor will I start with any eulogies!

    Besides, the look on his face when coming on for the dying seconds against Wolves wasn’t one of anger or resentment, but happiness – not the look of someone ready to leave.

  76. … and I agree totally with the comments about JET … who, on paper and on relative form at a lower level is the best prospective centre forward in Arsenal, excluding of course Mr. Majestic … RvP …

  77. Zim – All very reassuring, but I reckon he will leave in the summer. The only player assured to start in our front 3 if all is fit is RvP. Nasri will always play if fit; he could be used in midfield but tends to play in one of the wide slots. That only leaves one place. AA seems to be Arsene’s prefered player even when not on form.

    Behind that you have Theo, Rosicky, & Nik vying for the remaining spot. Add to this JET, Vela, and possibly Wellington and it is obvious that he is not going to be a regular starter. Which is what he wants.

  78. True enough Andy, and quite honestly one, probably two, have to sadly depart anyway next summer with the advent of JET (probably targeting next season for first team), and potentially Aneke, as you say possibly Wellington. I fully expect Walcott to play a bigger role with each season to come anyway.

    On the other hand, many is the time a player has spoken in this way (after all, they’re kids really), only to go back, think a bit, and decide it is in their best interests to compete at for a first team place.

    My view is that Bendtner, given time and a little patience, will out-perform Chamakh, and that because of his headstrong self-belief, not necessarily his skill. I have no doubt Wenger will advise him just like this. Chicken out, fine, but why not show yourself as consistently the better player.

  79. Zim – Yeah, that could well be the case. You are right of course, if Bendtner is as good as he thinks he is his performaces should force Wenger to make him a regular.

    Is he up for the challenge?

  80. I do think Nik problem is his workrate. When Chamakh is not scoring he still brings value to the team through his work ethic and hold up play. When Nik is not scoring he brings less to the plate.

  81. “On the other hand, many is the time a player has spoken in this way (after all, they’re kids really), only to go back, think a bit, and decide it is in their best interests to compete at for a first team place. ”

    That’s a massive thing too ZP. He is only early 20s. Easy to get frustrated and impatient. I think he’ll do exactly that and knuckle down to usurp Chamakh. Here’s hoping anyway!

  82. His workrate has increased since he’s returned from injury. Seeing Chamakh run his arse off for 90 mins every match was probably a bit of a kick up the backside…

  83. Wenger selects Arshavin, even when a little out of sorts, because he consistently produces a single moment that leads to a goal. It’s a rare skill.

  84. Why oh why, must we have so many excellent and upcoming players? Can our management get nothing right? Don’t they know you can only fit 11 at a time on the field.

    The funny thing is, had RvP not been kicked nicely, Chamakh would have been warming the bench these months, waiting his chance, and the odd silly trophy game.

  85. All true.

  86. Bendtner’s work rate is quite high. Not as high as Chamakh’s but for me he covers a lot of ground & doesn’t stop getting into dangerous positions.

  87. Our Dr. Wenger has created a 27-headed monster.

  88. The funny thing is, had RvP not been kicked nicely, Chamakh would have been warming the bench these months, waiting his chance, and the odd silly trophy game.

    Wouldn’t have played as much, but he’d have featured often.

  89. Yes, Bendtner’s work-rate is better than it looks. I’ve never considered him a ‘slack’ player. Unlike Chamakh, he more often dips back into midfield for a morsel or two of play.

    Chamakh, while not as good passing as Bendtner, especially a clever through ball, is better than he might appear, an unfussy player, effective without flamboyance; his positional play is very crafty, his control excellent; it is rare that an attacking move does not touch his foot some time because he’s where he’s supposed to be to receive the ball.

    Bendtner more often positions himself to score.

    At the moment, assuming Bendtner is fit and in form, it’s tough to make a call between these two heads of the 27-headed monster.

  90. That’s true Ole. Chamakh is equally, and in many ways, your ideal last 20 minute sub. He would have been used consistently. That is what we all expected back in the days (um August).

  91. Zim Paul
    Bender last season was number 2 striker now with Chamakh here he is now number 3 and he doesnt like it.He can do an Adebayor and fuck off and see his carrer go down the toilet

  92. Either way he should not be bleating about it in a magazine. Speak with Wenger.

  93. I think Nik’s going to get plenty of games this season. He only just came back from injury and he went straight into starting an important Champions League game. He didn’t take that opportunity. Demanding more first-team starts, well, it seems pretty typical of a boy who more often than not comes across as a bit of lemon.

    He’s in a fantastic position here, if he can’t see that then he doesn’t deserve to be in it and he can step aside for JET. I have a feeling he’ll be talked around though. It shouldn’t take much of a hard sell really should it?

  94. This is the Arsenal, I know.
    Good luck on … is it Sunday?
    May Everton play well, play fair and try their best; and may Arsenal click back into that unstoppable gear we know and love.

  95. A bit of a lemon. Not like ice ‘n’ slice… oh ffs. As Robert Smith once famously sang; ‘Friday, I Can’t Type’.

  96. I always though NB came across like a bit of mango myself… each to their own I suppose.

  97. seriously though, i agree Limpar – if he can’t recognise that this is the best place for him (just look at Greedybuywhore), then he needs to wake up and smell the homous.

  98. or is it hummus? lol.

  99. Lampard out for another 3 weeks… can only be a good thing as far as we’re concerned.

  100. Have I mentioned how much I detest arrogant ManU, how distasteful I find Chelsea (especially their supporters), how utterly futile on any level I find ManC, a team that moves me to nothing; and how I feel sorry for Liverpool supporters and their admittedly once great club. It is a privilege to support Arsenal.

  101. Word ZimPaul. Couldn’t have put it better.

  102. Houmous? Isn’t that the little Mexican lad playing for United? Javier Houmous – nickname of Little Chickpea? Something like that…


    Good old Cesc, what a legend, and fair play to Ward for sharing this with the media.

  104. hahaha limpar! very good 🙂

    I love Schweinsteiger’s translation of his name – ‘Pig Mounter/Climber’ – lovely stuff.

  105. Zim Paul, bendy may be super cocky confident but I dont think Chamakh lacks confidence either- he actually seems to carry himself with an air of arrogance at times!

  106. Some of my other favourites are

    Gerrardo Torrado, Razvan Rat, Vanger Love, Bongo Christ, Wolfgang Wolf… to name a few – can you tell i’m bored at work?

  107. POET Friday – have a good one all, here’s to another Arsenal victory.

    Up the Arse!!

  108. Sorry to hear about NB52 but not surprised. Hopefully he will stay with us although I do not see him ahead of RVP or Chamahk at this point. He will get chances with injuries and fixture congestion and if he plays well he will move up. When you are 3rd choice you will not get a “run of games” unless there are injuries so he really needs to show that he is better then the players ahead of him to get more time. This type of scenario will become more and more common as we start to see better players coming through the ranks and certainly we will lose a good player or 2 or 3 in the years to come. Winning titles vs. young player development are sometimes at odds with each other. No right or wrong answer to questions like this.

  109. There seems to be some ambiguity about whether players go through a last spurt of physical development in their early twenties. Not really growing, but ‘filling out’. The manager has made comments about the average player developing fully, or maturing, around the age of twenty three. So, that is a sweeping generalisation, not very accurate. But it is worth keeping in mind.

    On TW14’s technique, I agree with what is written above, but I guess I’m also a little biased! Damn these ruby goggles. I think that sometimes his touch looks worse then it is because he’s running so damn fast. And that is also why he might sometimes need a little longer to find a rhythm. I can’t see into the future, so I don’t know how he’ll develop, but he’s done well so far.
    What I’ve enjoyed about the forward players growth is the mini partnerships that have already developed. NB52 links up really well with both TW14 & CV11, Diaby and Theo have traded assists in big games. Last seasons mini-arguments on the pitch, at the end of the season, for me revealed how much injuries had affected the squads style of play. It seemed like they’d forgotten how they could ‘mix things up’, and ‘stretch’ opponents in a different way when exploiting Theo’s pace. (I do love football cliches.)

    In my Arsenal daydreams, I envision the new Arsenal No.14 and No.10, mimicking a previous partnership. And, as the club are developing a super squad, that would have seemed a luxury to the likes of Henry & DB10 as they struggled to balance the demands of the CL & PL, I can see room for more players then in the past. The super squad, also allows room for players like Rosicky (Czech. Captain still?), who it seems, will not be asked to play three games a week at this moment, understandably. (What a player!).
    The league isn’t going to be reduced in number, Arsenal’s players get ‘kicked’ more then most in the PL for some weird reason, the CL group stage will probably remain as it is, and Arsenal are an ambitious club!

  110. There’s a whole youtube compilation video devoted to the skill that JET pulled off the other day. It’s called a “Hocus Pocus” apparently. Sorry about the music:

  111. Delia----Block112

    I like B52 a lot but have always seen him as a bit of a spoilt brat. He obviously has a very short memory, just think 12 months ago and our CF difficulties. I accept that Chamakh has arrived on the scene but with our projected fixtures and injury history, Bendy will get plenty of game time. The grass is not always greener elsewhere ,so hang on Nicki and take your chances with us.

  112. As you can see, it’s the move of choice for powderpuffs worldwide.

    Let’s hope JET will be the exception.

  113. Chamakh is blending in slowly but he has the control and touch that, in terms of style, make him very much like RvP. He makes the same little touches putting players through, the same back to goal play and distribution out wide. RvP is clearly better with his feet than Chamakh, but hey, RvP is better than anyone with his feet. Chamakh has quality in the air that RvP rarely displays. Bendtner still provides an alternative to both. The problem I see with B-52 is that he has not fully embraced what he is – a big strong center-forward. He allows himself to buffeted and out-muscled in the box…he prefers to attack the goal facing front rather than with his back to goal. He has great feet, but by playing to that ability he ignores his most dominant qualities. Put it this way, it always seems to me that B-52 is busy trying to be Eto’o when he should be Ibra. (Try not to come down on me too hard here. I’m just trying to make a point about style…and doing a rather clumsy job of it.) In comparison, take a look at JET. We have seen him dribble at players, cut into the box, create his own shot – like RvP stylistically speaking. Even still, JET plays to his obvious dominant quality. He’s a titan and he knows it. He out hustles and out muscles others in the box. (Rhymed!) Point is – Bendtner spent time out on the right to learn how to play better with the ball at his feet; to learn to see the pass and how the attack moves, but at times it seems like he’s forgotten what he is.

    Ahhh….this post has gone a bit off the rails…not sure what I was trying to say any more. Maybe it’s just that B-52 seems at times to be so close to the dominance he craves. I guess it’s just that we’ve watched B-52 getting out-muscled by the Terry, Alex, Vidic’s of the league while JET looks like he’d barely notice their presence. (Let the flurry of WTF begin! 🙂 )

  114. JET’s hocus pocus stands out as it had an end product and what an outstanding end product!

  115. True, he kept his balance and composure better than most of the players in the video, but then it was only a reserves match.

    I really hate that song. You can make that sound with a straw and the paper cups you get at fast food joints.

  116. JET has also had his hungry and work rate questioned. Boy, is he answering those criticisms now. I actucally feel back for left-backs he plays against. His a beast but his our beast!

    Can’t wait to see if he plays against Wigan.

  117. I read an article this week about Bendtner becoming a father and how this has made him mature really quickly. Whenever I’ve seen him come on the pitch for Chamakh he’s all smiles and seems to be getting on well. This really doesn’t mesh with what this article says. He’s a star in Denmark and it is natural for the Danish public to be concerned about him getting starts. Therefore I think this newspaper is feeding into that by putting out this story. Bendtner may be cocky and a bit arrogant, but he’s not stupid. He knows that if he leaves Arsenal now it will be a step backwards for his career.

  118. Forget Benny, if anyone has a right to be questioning their future at the club, game time opportunities as well as their position in a team that persists with 4-3-3 it’s Carlos. Yet, his silence has been golden and his attitude tremendous.

  119. I think Carlos Vela will be the heir apparent to Arshavin. I’m convinced that Wenger will use him as a left sided Theo and unleash him whenever the tactics call for it.

  120. Let’s hope so G69, it would be tragic if Carlos fails to realise his potential with the Arsenal.

  121. On the combinations up front, while I loved the three man attack of AA, RVP, and Bendtner at the start of last season. I would love to see us play 442 with Theo and Benny up front with Song and Cesc in the middle with Rosicky and Nasri on the flanks! At home I would love to see how that would work especially against middle level teams.

    Theo’s finishing and first touch this season has been nothing short of outstanding! Never throught I would be saying that this soon in his career, but here I am.

  122. Yogi:

    Loved what you said in the 4th paragraph of today’s post.

    “It has caused some consternation amongst supporters to see the vilification going on; ignore it. Let the press have their moment and we’ll worry about the team itself. ”

    By far the best thing that has ever been written on this blog or its comments section regarding the media. You’re my hero. Limpar moves to 2nd on the pecking order.

    Listened to your spot on Arcecast. You come off just as well on that medium as you do in print. Nice job.

  123. Maria, I think that Vela is in the same boat as Bendtner. They’re both on the periphery of the first team and just need to get a string of games to show what they can do. I think Vela will get more starts as the season progresses. If he does well I think he’ll be at Arsenal for a while.

  124. Maria:

    I share idesa about Carlos. I would love an attacking player from North America make it really big in the PL and he certainly has the talent. Hate to see someone from ManU get the headlines. Don’t know how he will get any chances to play. I agree with G69, long term he is a natural replacement for Arshavin but with AA, Nasri, TR7 and hopefully soon RVP all very capable to play that side position his chances will be very limited. With a tight PL race Wenger has to play his in form players. The conundrum you can not play well if you don’t get a chance to play but you can’t get a chance to play so you really can not play that well. I think we talked early this season about a 6 month loan to Fulham. Still sounds like a good idea to me. JET would also benefit I think.

  125. Looks like the comments might be true as Arsene has reacted to them

  126. Yogi, are you from the West country? That was a good interview anyways.

  127. Champion

    A long time ago!


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