Injury Time Will Decide Who Starts On Saturday

Morning troops, international week is over and now we wait for any injuries – other than Jack Wilshere’s – to emerge before Saturday’s derby with Tottenham. Of the key personnel, the only ones who seemed to play an inordinately long time for their country were Samir Nasri and Bacary Sagna.

It was hardly, in Nasri’s case, surprising given the way that he shamed England’s midfield with his range of passing. Had Karim Benzema not be selfish  and wildly slashed at a shot in the first half instead of pulling the ball back, Nasri would surely have had the goal his performance merited.

Bacary Sagna meanwhile probably only had about 15 minutes of work to do such was the paucity of England’s attacking forays, proof that the recent wins with good performances were flashes in the pan and that the norm is too see them revert to type was international dullards.

Elsewhere, RvP managed forty-five minutes for the Dutch which we now wait for any reaction from his injury to. He observed on Dutch TV that the half would be beneficial to Arsenal but I would be stunned if it did any more than confirm his place on the bench. Marouane Chamakh proved Eric Gerets’ pre-match assessment that coming to Arsenal had been good for the player with a goal. He also proved that the new ‘hardness’ much lauded in the press following Sunday’s win at Everton is a mental state by getting booked before his substitution.

Sebastien Squillaci has observed that being a ‘relative unknown’ has helped him settle at Arsenal. The centre back noted,

Yes, I think it helped [that I was a relative unknown]. I knew a lot of the players and there are a lot of Frenchmen here, which always makes it easier to adapt. There are players here who I have played with for France and also against in the French league and that makes coming here not so hard. It’s always better coming to a club where you know the players, it helps you if there are any problems and also helps on and off the pitch too.

Adapting-wise, I knew that it [English football] would be physical with some good sides, playing good football. The strikers are big and strong and it is a great contrast with Spain where the strikers are faster and not so strong. But it’s not going too badly. I’m stepping up to the challenge and it’s getting easier.

It also probably helped that he was not a central part of Domenech’s final debacle in the summer, curtailing any criticism before he had even donned the red and white.

This weekend may well see him partner Laurent Koscielny once more despite Johan Djourou’s recent good performances. Koscielny’s ban is now served and Wenger has not hesitated to restore him to the starting line-up. Much depends though on whom Wenger believes Tottenham will start with. If he is inclined to believe they will favour Crouch, then he should go with Djourou. Whilst Koscielny is good enough in the air, I believe Djourou is better.

There is again the argument that changing the starting line-up is unnecessary tinkering. The past two away games have brought victory; Wolves was not as convincing as it could have been but nonetheless, Djourou was impressive that night, continuing that form into the Everton match. We shall see as no doubt there will an injury or two to throw a well-aimed spanner into the works.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 18, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer. Bookmark the permalink. 106 Comments.

  1. Hopefully no injuries- outstanding perfomance of the day, Samir Nasri- it’s as if the boy has suddenly realised he can do anything he wants. Skillful, pacy, strong and with a menacing eye for goal! Whisper this but if the boy carries on this way, Cesc will not be the only £50 zillion player at Arsenal!

  2. morning y’all…this is really boring.

    mo footie mo fun.

    for fifa fans, just saw this awesome pic of the boys indulging –

    RVP FTW!

  3. I’m also enjoying the rise and rise of Samir Nasri. He’s a player who up till now had everything except directness. He’s adding that to his game and starting to have a consistent end-product.

    He’s a player I love watching. It’s impossible to get the ball off him and that’s remarkable for someone with such a slight frame.

  4. Djourou is in front of Koscielny surely.

  5. I’d also like Djourou to start on Saturday. But he played 90 mins yesterday so that could be a consideration since Kos & Squillaci should be fresher.

  6. Samir Nasri simply bossed the midfield, a virtuoso performance. Yet we had many doomerss coming on board last summer and before, writing tosh that Nasri was not Arsenal quality, that he was over-rated. Many used the fact that he was continually overlooked by the idiot Domenech and not selected as part of the French World Cup squad to justify their ignorance. They conveniently forgot that Nasri suffered a broken leg in 09-10 pre-season (Diaby tackle) and proceeded to discount the that he was an amazing talent out of Marseille for whom Wenger paid big money.
    Don’t hold your breath waiting for them to apologize for once again doubting Arsene’s talent-spotting.

  7. I would be tempted to keep the defence as it was against Everton and Wolves. We looked solid in both games.

    Nasri has bulked up, and has taken his game to another level. We saw in glimpses what he can produce – his 2 goals against Man Utd in his 1st season evidence of his talent. Watching him play centrally and bossing the midfield was a work of art (even if England only had the much overated likes of Barry and Gerrard playing). The triangles of passing, one-two touch pass and moves, drop of the shoulder, quick turn pass and move… it was amazing, and England’s midfield couldn’t cope.. Wenger will have surely taken note of his performance in a central position.

    The fact that we have Cesc, Denilson, Song, Diaby, Wilshire and Ramsey central midfielders, it means that he is best utilised for his trickery in more advanced positions. After that performance last night, its pretty clear he has more in the locker, and is more than equipped to lead a 3 man midfield. Cesc watch out!

    I felt sorry for Theo last night I must say. He gave the ball away a couple times, but was England’s biggest attacking threat in the 1st half. The passing and supply from England’s central midfield was poor, but it has always been the case so no need to complain I guess. I just found it hilarious that England’s gameplan changed to accomodate Carroll. Capello has obviously not worked on making England a footballing team, or he just knows they aint worth to bother trying to turn them into one.

    It is very depressing when watching Nasri and co play so beautifully. At times it was like watching Arsenal!

  8. It was very depressing when considering how beautifully Nasri and co played* is what I meant to say.

    When you see one of Arsenal’s rising stars taking the piss out of the likes of Gerrard and Barry, you can only sit back and admire.

  9. The Telegraph had these quotes by Wenger concerning England. He grieves for English football:
    “This will hurt England, especially the manner of the defeat,” Wenger said.
    “Very good players without a very good coach doesn’t work and a very good coach without very good players doesn’t work, either.
    “We’ve really seen such an apathetic English team and accepting an opponent’s domination when they’re at home is so surprising.
    “It’s despairing. The team was without fight, they really were playing a friendly match.
    “Steven Gerrard looked lost on the pitch. When he lost the ball it was not a good thing.
    “As soon as England won the ball back, they lost it again.
    “They lost the ball straight away on the first pass. They avoided tackles. There was only one team on the pitch.
    “The English lost possession in their own half and at that level it can be deadly.”
    “There’s a sort of paralysis, a shyness when this team plays at Wembley.
    “David Beckham told me there is such a pressure from the Press that there’s a form of inhibition among the players.
    “The richness of a nation’s football is assessed by the depth of its players.
    “When there are five players missing for England you don’t see much in reserve to take up the challenge. There were too many players not at the right level to take on this French team.”

  10. Vote for Samir Nasri’s Arsenal goal vs FC Porto for the Ballon D’or Goal of the Year Award!

  11. Shotta

    I followed the game on French TV where he was commentating and he did say those things about England except the thing about Gerrard it was another commentator.

    It was not taking the piss out of England, contrary to Lizarazu who kept saying the England team is shit and have only commitment and fighting spirit to show for and that they did not show it in the match. Wenger was actually shocked by what he saw and was surprise by the England level and even though before the match he said he thought France was favourite because of all the forced and unforced changes in the England squad he did not expect them to be that bad.

  12. Nasri is a quality player without doubt.

    I think Djourou will start on Sat, he has played well recently and compliments Squillachi quite well.

  13. The central defensive options are mouth watering this season. I don’t mind who he picks they all bring such quality to the pitch.

  14. Thanks gunnerluc for pouring some light on these “quotes” by the Telegraph. One player that was particularly shocking to me was Jagielka who was asked to play right back. This is a player who is continually talked up as Arsenal quality (I am thinking of a sibling of mine). Yet his lack of versatility as a defender was telling. Nasri and Malouda continually passed around him thus able to release Benzema for the inevitable. It was embarassing. At least Micah Richards was marginally better but by then the damage had already been done.

  15. Nasri was amazing yesterday taught those toads a good bloody lesson. He was everywhere!! Can’t you believe Lawro and Green were comparing him to Messi? And they keep going on and on about the fact that France were techically superior and that the 2-1s, ability to keep the ball, movement, skill all reminded them of none other than the might Arsenal!!

    Then Lawro blew saying that they should have been 6-0 up but for the fact that they very Arsenal like were trying to walk the ball into the net! *****

  16. The only surprise is WHY was Wenger shocked at how poor England were

  17. Well Arsene is so very nice about his host nation. He even said Carroll was annintelligent player.

  18. depth in squad looks amazing this season cant wait 4 sagna vs bale

  19. @Gunnerluc Wenger is too generous, Lizirazu is right —England is shit. I heard one of the ITV commentators saying how Gibbs panicked when he got the ball. But you could see Gibbs looking up for the pass when the closest player to him that wasn’t a back pass was 40 yards away.

    There was no confidence to give the right pass, nor competence to receive a pass. The entire gameplan was “give it to Caroll and look for the knockdown”.

    Anyway I digress, this is an Arsenal blog, let’s just take comfort and delight in the form of Nasri. Hope he has some left in the tank for the weekend.

  20. With our main players playing so much on Wednesday, this may hurt us on Saturday. I wonder how many spurs players participated in games on Wednesday?

  21. “At 7pm on 8 December 1863, at the Freemason’s Tavern in Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London, the newly formed Football Association gathered to determine a definitive set of Laws of the Game. Handling of the ball was outlawed, and football and rugby went their seperate ways… but a dispute on hacking – that is, whether kicking opponents in the shins should be allowed – raged long into the night. F.W. Campbell of Blackheath was very much in favour. ‘If you do away with hacking,’ he said, ‘you will do away with all the courage and pluck of the game, and I will be bound to bring over a lot of Frenchmen who would beat you with a week’s practice.'”

    Turns out Campbell couldn’t have been more prescient.

    It seems to me beyond belief that English football, which has been having the exact same conversation with itself that it is having today, almost annually and for more than a decade – is yet to instigate real change at grass roots level.

    OOU, your point last night, that using Carroll might stunt England’s development is spot on. Perry Groves was on the radio saying the same thing and you’re both right. It’s the recurring crossroads English football comes to after every realisation of failure; and we’ve never once chosen the other road. We talk about technique, and smaller pitches, and ball control for 24 hours, gazing ruefully down the path less trodden (other than by the entire progressive footballing world which we begat) – and then we look at what we’ve got to work with (Andy Carroll) and we decide to ‘play to our strengths’ – F.W. Campbell’s ‘courage and pluck.’

    Being as Andy Carroll will never be able to control a football like Chamakh, and how James Milner is as far apart from Messi as a rugby league player is to a mime artist – playing to our strengths in the first team is understandable. But why we haven’t shortened pitches at U-12 level (I, like lots on here I imagine, was put on a full size pitch aged 11), why haven’t we looked to futsal, looked to pioneers like AFC to help draw up training ideas to roll out across the country’s playing fields? It’s just tragically bone-idle and almost wilfully, stubbornly stymied. I’m sure I’ve heard of money being ploughed into grass roots football so where does it go; shinier bibs, bigger pitches? It’s a joke. Too many F.W. Campbell’s in the FA – not enough strong voices to tell them where to go.

  22. I think the problem lies deep within the bowels of that bright shiny sarcophogas built in NW London for an unknown fee (1BN & still rising).


  23. Which sarcophogas is that, Finsbury? There are so many billion pound FA boondoggles, I lose track. The one in Burton for example, St Georges’ Park (you learn jousting before dribbling I think); first it taketh, then it keepeth on takething, and again, and another £100m here, and £10m there… and noones’s kicked a ball there yet… f*cking useless FA know-nothing wastrels. Up against the wall with the BBC, I say.

  24. I thought Kozer had only completed one of his two match ban

  25. Burton’s costs have escalted as they once started the works , then stopped them! (I think). Didn’t know they’d re-named it as St.George’s Park. Oh dear…

    But the new Wembley Stadium was the real stinker, no doubt about it. (Don’t get me started on the contract models used…for me only two interpretations are possible: The FA are mad, or bad). Paying off the costs of the stadium will possibly cripple the FA’s ability to do, well, sweet FA.

    Hopefully Nasri will have been inspired to mash up some Sp*ds.

  26. boomer, Kos sent off against Newcastle – Wolves, Everton – done. I’d pick him to start. He will be raring to go.

  27. England was woeful. But Adam Johnson is a class act. Unfortunately for him he was born in the wrong country. Had he been born in a Brazilian favela he’d be right up there with the world’s best!

  28. It`s a tough call for centre back on Saturday. I suspect Yogi may be right & if Crouch plays D`jourou will get the nod.

    Nasri seems to have found an extra yard of pace this season. It`s taken him time to adapt but we are starting to see the player Arsene knew he was when he signed him. His touch & passing range are fantastic & he should take all the right foot dead balls & penalties in my opinion such is his technique & confidence.

  29. I wrote a very very long rant about England and why nothing will change. But I deleted it. A bloody waste of time is that topic.

    England are crap and will fall even further behind.

    Not that I care. So long as the Arsenal keeps matching forward.

  30. cheers Limpar, good shout i prefer him too, fresh and ready to give it everything

  31. On the center back pairing I also agree with yogi. If they play Crouch, the tiny spuds will hoof the ball towards him so we need to be strong in the air and Djourou has been spot on in that department and Koscielny’s tecnique will be less useful. But the fact that Koscielny and Squillaci will be fresh could be a good reason to pair them on Sunday.

  32. International football is simply an interuption of Arsenal’s season. I really could not care less about the ntional team as long as our players do not get broken.

  33. Limpar Assist @ 12.12 pm – Excellent post.

    The local pitches to me have smaller children’s pitches with smaller goals and they play with a smaller ball too (size 4 i think) and it makes perfect sense. Watching the youngsters play, I can see their skill level and technique is far better than the best kids of my generation. However it seems that as they progress, the skill is put to one side and it’s a disproportionate amount of the tallest, strongest players that are moved onto the next level. This has been the case for as long as I can remember. AFC lead the way.

  34. I agree with those who say Andy Carroll looked good. Other than that England were dire as usual.

    Can’t wait for the NL derby. As usual spurs will be well up for this, and they’ve been doing some giant killing lately.
    I’d like to see another run like Fab4’s last season where he beat half their players and scored. Only this time I want Nasri to do it. I also fancy Song scoring, he’s acquired the taste for goals now and I’m liking it. Maybe he’s never gonna be the best passer in the world, but he’s turning out to be a very ok midfielder.

  35. Limpar @ 12:12

    Top post. witty and insightful, thank you for the history lesson!


    I love this guy. I take a lot of stock in how a player celebrates an important goal for the Arsenal. Nasri’s celebration after his crucial first goal at Eastlands says it all!!

  37. Nasri has shown flashes of greatness before but he seems to have gotten over the inconsistency of youth and is playing at a higher level every game. Even last year he disappeared at times. A lot of really good players seem to figure it out between 23 – 25 years old. Hopefully Theo, Vela, NikB etc. will follow his lead.

  38. Apaprt from being such a talent, what’s not been noticed much is, his ability to recover from injuries. Always ahead of schedule, always willing to come back straight in action. No wonder he’s one of our most expensive signings!

  39. The problem with England as I repeatedly say is that they play “English football”. Why the obesession with Andy Carol-and this big man syndrome? Why the need for a big man upfront? The argument that foreign players are responsible for the inability of English players to adopt and play cultured football is laughable. English football is still stuck in a cultural warp that believes the big man syndrome is still the holy grail! Many clubs are still stuck in the dark ages with the way young players are developed. The FA are hopeless and are only there for self interests. English football needs a big wake up call and the entire FA needs to be sacked!

  40. Rune,

    I honestly feel bad for all of Gooners spread across England as your football team is truly an embarassment. In America, we have an excuse for not playing the best football. But you guys, cmonnnnnnn! You “invented” the game!

  41. (off Wiki)

    Francis Maule Campbell (1844 – 3 Dececember 1920)
    Played for the appropriately named Old Blackheathens Football Club.
    (also known as Blackheath F.C.)

    Blackheath as described above were in favour of ‘hacking’, instead of the alternative Cambridge Rules (Football). So, after the Great Divide, they ended up playing to their own set of rules for a while before a match was, er, abandoned. They went on to become, possibly, the first Rugby club.

  42. Cheers mattyboy, and NJ.

    The thing that gets me is that I grew up playing tennis ball football in the playground (England’s futsal!?), and if someone lumped it over everyone’s head rather than pass it out from the back they were given a right earful! Keep it on the ground! It was all about little combinations. Kids know how to play… yet as soon as they’re thrown onto a fullsize pitch it’s all up-and-unders, chasing the ball around in the rain like a rugby pack and lumping it up toward the guy who had a growth spurt over half-term.

    (I just got handed a rubber bafana bafana bracelet from SA – 6 mths too late… still gonna rock it though… Bafana Bafana!)

  43. Runebreaker

    It is truly an embarassment, but its something many Arsenal fans have highlighted for a while now, this is why fans like myself have to drag themselves to watch England. The only reason I switched on last night was because Theo, Gibbs, Nasri, Sagna, and Clichy were featuring. I had a hunch France would bring their A game too after such a dismal World Cup, bringing back in players like Benzema and Nasri who have a point to prove.

    The FA and the most part of the British media have been brushing the problems under the carpet, hyping up the goalscoring form of a 15 penalty a year Rooney, who is smart enough to win penalties off the English refs. Take him to the World Cup and he like all his team mates and he looks very average. The quality is not there, players are taught to win at any cost but not taught to play football. There is no skill, no flair, no individual brilliance or frame of mind to create something magical. It has been coached out of the majority from a young age. It will take 10-15 years to fix, and its something which the FA fail to adress as they are too busy protecting the wealth of the Premiership.

  44. Anyway.. at least we have Arsenal to look forward too! Sorry for my rant, I tried to keep it in. I’m off, so catch ya all tomorrow people.

  45. Interesting points on Djourou over Koscielny for Saturday. Djourou’s distribution has been excellent, and above all his headed clearances have been longer and truer than Koscielny’s have. However, I don’t think you pick a player purely to win headers against Crouch. Djourou might make life in the air more difficult for him than Koscielny – but he’s still going to win some knockdowns, against anyone. I think Koscielny should play, a) because he’s fully rested and refreshed, and b) because his high interception rate, and tendency to tackle successfully high up the pitch will be a great weapon against a midfield that should try to pass the ball.

  46. @ Limpar –
    c) because of his heroic performance in the CC game against the same opposition 🙂

  47. Fascinating story, LA. That’s something that needs to be read by decision-makers!

    And it looks like my neck of the woods has done little to advance the game. The Valley’s a five-minute walk from Blackheath F.C. and in the last 30 years has shat out Defoe, Lee Bowyer, Rob Lee and Tactics Trucker Andy Townsend. Hoping young Jonjo will buck the trend though.

    I don’t know why I care suddenly. I’ve read so many opinions today on what’s gone wrong and how to set it straight that I’m in a bit of a muddle. As you can see:

    Like you guys, I think the best thing to do is to look at what successful national sides do to produce great youngsters and copy it – short of re-establishing a national centre of excellence. So I agree with making balls, goals and pitches smaller for kids, as well as moving the game indoors in mid-winter.

    But then I thought, do we really love the game enough in this country to pay that much attention to the basics and push all those changes through? We love showboating skill, 30-yard belters and crunching tackles, but never pay much attention to teamwork and tactics.

    We’re also obsessed with the 0ff-pitch soap opera; big money transfers, players’ private lives, colossal football stadia, intrigue, tit-for-tat exchanges in the press. But that’s not really football.

    I mean, we built this hulking cathedral and didn’t even get a proper pitch for it.

    And with our sports media, you can positively gorge on the secondary stuff, but you’ll be none the wiser about what actually happens on the pitch.

    You don’t see much real football appreciation on TV. In analysis, nobody praises basic technique, teamwork, passing moves; we’re more interested in trying to stop all that.

    It’s been said before, but when most goals are analysed there’s more focus on the defensive mistakes than on attack .

    So I’m not sure we have enough enthusiasm for the game.

  48. OneOfUs,

    Let’s not rob the San Siro of one of its favourite sons; I’m pretty sure that Welling United gave Andy Townsend to the world.

  49. LA,

    I agree on JD vs LK. The key to stopping Crouch is to make his header difficult and then win the second balls. Personally, if they’re playing long to him, I’d use Denilson as a shield in front (he did this very well in the West Ham game), any defender behind and make sure our other players are on their toes.

  50. Uhoh, I was totally wrong about that, gib! I knew he was local and thought he’d spent time at Charlton as a kid before moving on.

  51. OOU, That is a really fascinating comment, that I found quite insightful culturally. Very often the health of the game in England is assessed through the enthusiasm for watching football and attendance at games, noting how well-supported the Championship is and the lower leagues in comparison to other countries. What you are suggesting is that it is a social experience that is less about appreciation of the formal, technical elements of the game and more about physical competition, group identities, and celebrity culture that drives interest.

    I haven’t read Englischer Fussball, by the Guardian’s Raphael Honigstein, but I think he might make some points related to those you articulate.

  52. Limpar, OOU

    I had never considered the effect of playing on smaller vs bigger pitches on youth development. But it makes perfect sense doesnt it? Someone said it yesterday in realtion to Theo, only the biggest or fastest players receive attention after a certain age in England. Thanks for the insightful discussion, surprising to think that such a seemingly insignificant detail has so much impact.

  53. culturally insightful is a great way to describe it limestone. .

    top post OOU, very succinct.

  54. Well im happy. Infact i URGE england to keep up the bad work. Its one less contester for anything shiny in the big tournaments. The mad british press also helps. All oposit teams know they are facing a nation with underdeveloped, backwards footy and a crazy press that puts sick preassure on the team and that often make them crumble under the preassure. Then they implode.

    The only team that beats england is England themselves. and they done it sice err when did they last win anything ?

    But its a joy for the rest of Europe. makes it so much easier to play England…

  55. It was only a matter of time until Nasri started producing the kind of football that brought him to prominence as a teenager at Marseilles. That run against Everton, where he smoked Jagielka, was the first time I’ve seen him reproduce the same form he had before he came to us. Up till now he’s had flashes of brilliance here and there. The goal against Porto immediately springs to mind. But ever since the City game it seems as if all of his footballing qualities, his confidence and his maturity have coalesced to the point where he feels like he can do anything on the football pitch.

    On this type of form I’d play Nasri just off the striker and move Cesc back to the deep lying playmaker role. My line up for the Spuds would be like this:


  56. for england to succeed this is what the FA must do

    * remove the following words from the vocabulary of the youth coaches (fast, big and strong)
    * replace those words with the following (technically good on the ball and with his movement, can spot a pass). I bet your fortunes will improve.

    *as for the game on saturday, crouch will definitely start i am sure ‘Arry’s gameplan will include get the ball to bale down the wings and cross into the box for crouch. They will try to do follow newcastle’s model, because if they try to play an open game it could be disastrous. So i think Djourou should start to counter that. And i would play Denilson and Song to maximize our ball retention. Then i would unleash Nasri.

  57. OOU, I agree. Esp. the emphasis on stopping rather than creating. A clever passing move is often portrayed as being sneaky, and skilful players somehow seen as untrustworthy. If you aren’t going hell-for-leather directly for the goalposts then you must be fannying about. “Shooooooot!” we bellow. We are talking about incredibly deep-set cultural and psychological traits here (almost every news outlet I read yesterday mentioned Agincourt) – and a television broadcasting company or newspaper who bucks those trends risks losing their core, old-school audience – I guess? The thing is though, as we have said before on here – the first one to start doing a proper job on football analysis will win a huge new audience.

  58. Limpar, OOU

    this discussion is blowing my mind! Often times we talk about the underlying cultural characteristics in england and how they land themselves to football, both on and off the pitch. Yet these few posts on the subject are almost like a hypothesis in regards to not just the problems with english football, but football culture in general! I think its also interesting that some of the things that came up – emphasis on the culture of the fan, representing yourself and your team, making your voice heard, insulting your opponents – are imo, what makes it such great sport. This type of fan culture that is based, not on your legitimate beliefs for the future success of your team, but on being prideful and loyal to your team and making that pride heard aroudn the ground and in the pubs before and after. This is something that is absent in American sport, a commradarie and sense of pride amongst fans/supporters that is based not solely on the success of your team, but on the fact that you are, quite simply a supporter. That to be a supporter of your club is something that exists almost outside of the club.

    I think its wonderful. I hope I made myself clear there, kinda rambling. Just thought I would try and contribute to this great conversation.

  59. GB69 – thats line up could concede 5!

  60. Gainsbour 4:44, totally agree.

    The French press and this blogdom seem to be in agreement about English youth development:

    L’Equipe scoffs that England “were like a team from the bottom of the Premier League – they didn’t have enough foreigners!

    Le Parisien, meanwhile, suggests that England “seemed wearied by their own mediocrity”

    La Dépêche du Midi… headline for their match report reads: “France win at Wembley but where were the English?” and opened with the line: “The country that gave birth to football no longer knows how to raise its children.”

    Thanks for the link, Gadget.

  61. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    What a player Nas is blossoming into. He really is the total package.

    Looking forward to seeing Sagna throw Bale in his back pocket this weekend, too.

  62. If there is an English attitude to football today it likely mirrors the English attitude to life generally. I am going to make sweeping generalisations here. However if we accept that it’s mainly chavs and twats that dominate ‘popular’ opinion then they will dominate football opinion, probably more so.

    Therefore they will eat McDonalds and pizza as first choice foods, watch East Enders, drink lager and want their football to deliver instant gratification in the same way. That is the adrenalin rush of a goal as soon as and as often as possible. Fast football. Only in the ball hitting the back of the net will they have any actual gratification. How it gets there? Not really interested.

    This searing analysis also explains the hostility to Wenger and his team and the continued ability of idiots to make a living out of punditry.

  63. NJ, I love that about football too, though it’s also something sadly absent from some of our own top clubs. The pattern is crude but basically: Success (trophies) >means> new set of fans at matches, essentially celebrating that success and hoping to bask in some more of it (glory-hunters!) >means> original fans who were simply supporting their community club are pushed out. Not community as in immediate locale – but if you look at Arsenal’s global community, it’s online support – you will notice it there too. Celebrators vs. Supporters.

    One of the many positives to our ‘new stadium/transition years’ (bleugh!) has been that many of the ‘celebrators’ of AW’s early success have f*cked off like rats off the titanic – and the atmosphere at games is slowly improving because of that. Chelsea and United for example are chockful of rats. The tunnels beneath Stamford Bridge look like that crypt in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – and so do the terraces. Now who’s rambling…………..

  64. Limpar,

    haha way to sneak Dr. Jones in there. I think your absolutely right in terms of the celebrators/supporters question, and I think celebrators is a very descriptive term. And I hope the atmosphere at the ground continues to improve. I think one thing people might not acknowledge fully is how much a rousing chorus of we love you arsenal, by far the greatest team, whatever it is, brings to the team, especially if they are struggling to break through the enemies defences. I, for one, would like to see Red Action or even some sort of pro-active initiative by the club to encourage fan support. Even its little messages on the jumbotrons (not sure what you guys call them) before matches or a video of some arsenal greats talking about just how much fan support means to the players on the pitch. Do I want to have an atmosphere similar to an evil occult execution dungenon (Partizan Belgrade anyone?!??!) no. But I would like to HEAR more of what I hear during away matches consistently when we are at home.

  65. I hope Chamakh, Nasri, Fabregas and Sagna should be fully fit i was glad that Clichy got a rest

  66. My familiarity with the “celebrator” type of fan is pretty much all I encounter in American football fans. Few follow the day-to-day results of the club, which I find weak.. And obviously, a significant influence on where one lends his support is based on geographic upbringing, so thats kind of lost in America.

    My brother and I recently had an encounter with a “celebrator” Arsenal fan. We overheard him talking nonsense about Arsenal, turned to protest, and as soon as he pronounced Wenger as pure W, we just walked away.

    I learned a few years ago in a bar watching a midweek fixture what a true fan was. He was an ex-pat who was a die-hard Sheffield Wednesday supporter. I had to use my iphone to google sheffield wednesday bc I thought I was mishearing him and had asked for clarification on the clubs name a number of times hahah!

  67. Consolsbob,

    You have hit the nail very squarely on the head

  68. Very well said, Bob & Limpar

  69. NJ, take Consolsbob here – there can be no clearer an example of a supporter than Consolsbob. He doesn’t want your fancy-dan-lager-instant-gratification, thank you very much. He wants football for the soul – and an ale, please, if you’re buying.

    He shows that you can tell a w*nker by the food they eat and television they choose to watch. I would add to that; they prefer Ultimate Fighting Championship to boxing, don’t give a tuppeny screw what music might be playing in a club just so long as there’s some skirt to chase, bitch about politicians then don’t vote, and use the word ‘lad’ as a superlative.

  70. Absolutely right CBob at 5:45.
    Just watched it and I can’t stop laughing about Nani screwing Ronaldo’s goal…both are idiots.

  71. I dont know if any of you have taken to noticing, but a bunch of arsenal players are on Twitter, especially the younger ones. Apparently, Wellington Silva is in London and last night went out to dinner with Afobe and Ignasi Mi

  72. Miquel. Sorry dont know what happened there!

    Very cool though! Helps feed my addicition for arsenal info during the week!

  73. Miquel will captain Arsenal one day, I feel sure of it.

  74. ..and they will prefer 20-20 to actual cricket.

  75. LA,
    only if we can keep a certain club from trying to pry him away a la Cesc. There would come a time when all the players will start to mature and it would be interesting to see what happens. Sadly some would have to leave

  76. Interesting quotes from Arshavin following the match against Belgium. I think Advocaat wanted to stick it to Wenger

    “Yes, there is an important match ahead of us. Now Chelsea is just two points away. Tottenham … Tomorrow I’ll go to training and start preparing for the game. Most likely, Arsene wouldn’t like that I spent the whole 90 minutes on the pitch. Probably my chances to come out in the starting lineup in this derby have decreased because of it. But what can be done? In my opinion, Dick gave everybody the opportunity to play, so there was nobody left to substitute me with.”

  77. LOL, Bob..

  78. I don’t believe they’ll try to take Cesc this season, they already have bought 2 central midfielders in Macherano & Afellay.
    (They’re broke anyways)

  79. MJ

    I meant Miquel. I thought Afellay was more of a winger no? Anyways give him 18months he will be on loan at some german club

  80. my bad, colneyblog.
    You think Arshavin will start on Saturday?

  81. against sp*ds –


    Subs- Szchezny, Arshavin, Walcott, DJ, Rosicky, RVP

  82. MJ
    Who knows, it’s hard to predict which arshavin will show up on saturday assuming he starts. Theo only played 45min. I’d be inclined to play Rosicky altho Wenger says he has a tight hamstring but should be ok i guess.

    Should be a cracking game, i was a little dissapointed Sagna played the full 90min but he really wasn’t troubled by england’s wing play so hopefully he didn’t exert too much energy. My only consolation from that game is both sagna and samir didn’t have to travel far. Clichy didn’t play so that is good news as well.

  83. Le Bob signs for Villa

  84. i wish he had signed a week earlier he could have ended United’s streak.

  85. NJG, top comments re the lack of “supporters” in any sport here in the the States. There are always the small minority who would turn up win/lose/draw each match no matter what table position their team was in at the end of the season but they are the very, very small minority. And your average footy fan is worse. I totally agree with CBob as well, the food and beer on offer in an establishment and present at the table is a dead giveaway as to the quality of the person sitting there. Standards must be kept!

  86. There were times in the past where Nasri seemed to be playing as if he was a guest at Arsenal…the way someone behaves when they are a guest at your house. Afraid to impose themselves or take the initiative…I think maybe he feels that the team is his now as well, and feeling at home, he can take the lead, create the goals, score, boss the midfield, take the initiative…all the great things he’s been doing.

  87. colney, that would have been brilliant and poetically just–invincible ends united unbeaten streak. Too bad, he is signing in time to play against us, unfortunately.

  88. I found the earlier discussion a bit more stimulating as we have now gone back into the recurring paradigms of intra-Arsenal polemics, this time expanded to include a component of sociological analysis of the consumption patterns of the false fans. That part can be quite interesting to analyse but also easily and grossly exaggerated. However, it still leads us back to cementing these unfortunate and simplistic dichotomies and divisions: supporter v. celebrator, loyal gooner vs. glory-hunter, and so on.

    Sometimes I think online communities are best at producing extreme and polarizing discourses because we don’t communicate in anything other than a virtual context, don’t face each other and are representing and performing our identities through fictitious “avatars” for a virtual audience.

    I’d much prefer a chat together about Arsenal that begins with implicit respect that we all dearly love the club–that’s easier to have with people you know and trust than it is in the Arsenal online community, but nevertheless the best discussions still happen when that implicit respect is assumed so that ideas, opinions and views can be directly engaged and differences tolerated even if debated.

    I agree with everyone that one of the attractions of football support is how its passionate culture is so much stronger than a consumer oriented sports entertainment model found quite commonly in the US and potentially threatening football as a global and commercially huge enterprise. However, that doesn’t mean ambitious concern for excellence in results and the aspiration for trophies is incompatible with football supporter culture. It constitutes part of the highs (and there are so many lows) of a supporter’s experience and the rich and vibrant history of clubs. We all as Arsenal supporters mutually have an emotional stake simultaneously in the club trying its best to win the competitions it is a part of, playing a a style of pleasingly effective football, and maintaining and fostering a culture that links its history and traditions with a vibrant future. It’s a simplistic and rigid scheme that divides everyone and that probably doesn’t describe the majority of Arsenal supporters, who don’t in fact fit into these supposedly diametrically opposed camps of supporter v. celebrator, AKB vs. AAA, etc….

  89. Sorry, Axis, I know–too much abstracted verbiage for a simple sentiment on football, the sentiment being it is more fun to talk about football together than to spend so much time attacking “bad” fans for not being the right kind of supporter.

  90. MJ:
    “GB69 – thats line up could concede 5!”

    From the Spuds? I can’t even imagine what havoc Cesc would create by pinging passes about from a withdrawn position while Arshavin, Nasri and Theo run at them? I see you included Eboue in your line up as well. Are you that scared of Bale? Did you buy into all the rubbish about him destroying Maicon’s career? Pfffffftttttttt!!!111111!!!!!!!

  91. Limestone, why don’t you just say what you’re thinking and save all the abstracted (sic) verbiage? You could’ve saved every body about fifteen minutes by just stating that doomers are good supporters as well.

  92. MJ:
    “GB69 – thats line up could concede 5!”

    From the Spuds? I can’t even imagine what havoc Cesc would create by pinging passes about from a withdrawn position while Arshavin, Nasri and Theo run at them? I see you included Eboue in your line up as well. Are you that scared of Bale? Did you buy into all the rubbish about him destroying Maicon’s career? Pfffffftttttttt!!!111111!!!!!!!

  93. Limestone = the new Kierkegaard 🙂

  94. Queen of Suburbia

    RT @alandavies1: Bale & Walcott have both scored 4 & made 1 in the Prem this season.
    Bales played 1170mins.Walcott,304mins.
    Bale made 114 crosses for 1 assist

  95. (Lovely stuff…let ’em have it Limestone.)

  96. Forgot about Dups’ video last night. Hyukhyukhyuk!

    I’ve had this song in my head all week, and watched the video for the first time this morning. It’s got everything:

  97. Just trying to help everyone on GMT fight off insomnia and get a good night’s sleep! Night all!

  98. very well said limestone

  99. I had a nightmare last night. Dreamt that I couldnt watch the game as I was hosting friends at my house, only to tune in during the last minute to find the score at 5-4 to us and just before the whistle the spuds equalized. the horror!!

  100. Firstlady:

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