Stone Cold Friday: The Good, The Bad & The Downright Ugly

You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig. Here’s Darius with this week’s musings…

My short-lived media blackout was ruthlessly shattered this week. I had forgotten that Royal Mail and my mobile phone service provider still had the ability to let Tottenham fans and other undesirables get to me.

I had promised myself not to do anything ‘Arsenal’ until 7.43 pm on Tuesday when I could safely watch an Arsenal redemption. The thought of some good football with the TV sound muted, and a ‘safe’ Arsenal TV commentary was supposed to lift my spirits.

Yet it was the practical joke played on me by a very good friend and long term Liverpool supporter that slapped me back into reality and got me out of the bunker. A package arrived in the mail on Wednesday – a nicely wrapped DVD with a neatly printed label stating: ‘Official Tottenham Hotspur Match DVD – 20th November 2010 – Arsenal v Tottenham.

Inside the blank casing was a note that simply said, “Snap out of it you bastard, now you know how Liverpool fans have been feeling for the last 20 years”.

And he was right. This is what I subscribed to. This is what we all subscribed to. The highs, the lows, the emotional roller coaster, the excitement and elation, the despair and hopelessness.

The last 135 minutes of football have left me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Sweet because despite everything, we’re still well in with a chance of 4 trophies, and bitter because an unacceptable level of complacency has crept in.

An ACLF regular texted me on Saturday night after Chelsea’s loss to Birmingham saying – “The sun does truly shine on a dogs arse”. It made me smile as even I didn’t expect Chelsea to give us a second ‘get out of jail free card’, and it’s safe to say, we’ve used our quota for the season.

I suppose what pains me is that if you look at the results we had at Sunderland away, and against West Brom, Newcastle and Spurs at home, all of which were arguably winnable games – we could have been sitting pretty at the top 9 points clear of the chasing pack.

I know of many jobs where if you lost such a monumental advantage especially after being in control – you’d find yourself sitting in front of a disciplinary panel charged with dereliction of duty. 9 points in the EPL for example is equivalent to a windfall in the financial markets capable of securing 6 months wages for a good proportion of your employees.

But that my friends is the ‘ugly’ side of this adventure. It’s what keeps us awake at night, tossing and turning and making our loved ones wonder why it is that we get so affected and so emotional when Arsenal lose a game. If you didn’t feel this way, I would suggest that it’s possible you’re not truly a Gooner.

The ‘ugly’ is part and parcel of this journey, and even though we mentally prepare for it, and find a way to rationalize it – the impact to us has been plain to see this week.

The team know it and it’s fair to say that they hold their heads in shame. Denilson’s public apology for the debacle against Tottenham was an indicator that the team are sensitive to the fact that they’ve let us down and they’ve let themselves down. Only a gallant performance at Villa Park will start to spell redemption in the eyes of many.

Let’s however not get to down trodden because it’s time to dust ourselves off and get back on the horse. As they say in Miami – “It’s time to ‘fan up’”. It’s time to show the team that we share their pain and their joy. It’s time for us to make sure they know that we want them to get back to winning ways and that we will support them to the hilt to do that.

It is unreasonable to expect them to get back to the ‘good’, minimize the ‘bad, and totally eliminate the ‘ugly’ – if we are not prepared to do our part and ‘fan up’ for the team. I suggest that it’s actually hypocritical to expect the team to show mental strength and fight back, yet we’re not prepared to also fight back with our unwavering support.

My sense is that it’s entirely feasible that our indifferent performance at home this season is directly impacted by the fear, or anxiety or apprehension that the players might have in case they get a lukewarm response from fans claiming to be home supporters. You cannot discount that they’re playing more like the home team when they’re away – and that is a form of indictment of what we as fans do to make the Emirates a fortress.

The next Carling cup and Champions league ties are at home, and I think that by virtue of both having a fairly different crowd base than the EPL matches, we’re likely to see a different response from the crowds ‘fanning up’, and by extension, a much better performance from the team.

Johan Djourou captured it for me this week by defining our performances as “crazy and inexplicable”. Some call it a crisis, but I would suggest Ireland is in a crisis and not Arsenal. The problem with the blogosphere is that a perceived ‘crisis mode’ is easily amplified by the click of a button.

There are issues to resolve and they will be resolved so that we sail closer to the ‘good’ as opposed to the ‘bad and ugly’.

Meanwhile, is it only me or is anyone else disturbed by Fabianski’s recent fashion sense? What’s with the shocking pink?

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 26, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 132 Comments.

  1. Completely agree; I was in a stinking mood for the rest of the weekend after the Spurs debacle – if we had a cat, I’d have kicked it – but if we were winning 8-0 every week it would be boring; fun for a bit, admittedly, but ultimately just like playing a video game on the “Easy” setting against a three-year old with his thumbs tied together. There would be no sense of achievement when things finally click and the team starts to display its true potential, no gut wrenching “what if” moments and, worst of all, nothing to talk about in the pub 🙂

  2. A good performance and result is needed to get us back on track!!!!

    come on!!!

  3. Darius go easy on Fab Omega, I like that pink. This is a great post, thanks for reminding us on how important our support is to the players during the good and the bad times, now if only some fans could get it through their thick skulls!!

  4. It’s not fabianski’s fashion sense, it is the away jersey color of my goal-keeper. Almunia has worn it too.

  5. Aish Firstlady – that pink has issues, why lie.

    I suppose one way of looking at this week past is that it’s better to lose 2 games than to have persistent injuries to key players all of which seem to happen in November.

    December can’t come quick enough – and all this will be forgotten come next year.

  6. I’ve enjoyed this post more than any other you’ve written, mostly because it was missing all the usual moaning about what pundits are saying.

    Re GK jersey color, didn’t I read somewhere that some keepers like them because it makes them look bigger, or scarier, or something…
    I think it was Cech that said it.

  7. You should extend your media blackout indefinitely until they start writing only positive things about arsenal 😉

  8. LOL Henristic – that media blackout is definitely a plot. The next time football is on is 12.28 pm tomorrow – with the TV volume muted and Dan Roebuck and Richard Clarke commentating on ATVO.

  9. Well science has proven that colorfull goal jersyes makes it harder to score for the oponent. The color is so distracting aparantley its easier to miss, the prescence of the keeper is to strong. Especially in penalty shoot outs and when doing penalty strong colors are distracting.

    So why we ever play with green or gray is a mystery to me, especially when resarchers found that flourising pink and yellow is the way forward.

  10. I live in Cheshunt, the heartland of the Spuds, some Arsenal fans live there, but not many. Travelling back on the train with my seven year-old son on Saturday afternoon was a nightmare. Smug, jumped up little idiots on the train running up to every Arsenal fan they could find and gloating about the “new” Spurs being all-conquering as Twitchy was going to lead them to the promised land. Even the walk home was punctuated by Spuds running up and cheering in my face, I hate them!
    I thought that we would redeem ourselves on Tuesday and show that Saturday was just a blip, we were unlucky, normal service would be resumed. Then we fell foul of yet another incredible “lapse in concentration” as we were beaten by the simplest of attacks, the long ball over the top. Another home defeat followed by another Champions League defeat.
    I know we have two centre backs new to the Premiership, but some of the mistakes are just unbelievable.
    Having produced gritty performances to get results in our last two Prem away games we go back to “the beautiful game” and lose twice, why can’t we find something inbetween? Great passing and a bit of grit, surely the two are not mutually exclusive?
    We need to go on a sustained run of wins to show teams what we can do, teams think we are a push over now. Pack your defence and catch them on the break and Arsenal will roll over. A good win at Villa would surely settle us down and could be the start of a run, we need to have our tails up for the matches against Man U and Chelsea coming up.
    I think sending both Ramsey and Lansbury out on short term loans has got to be good news, we can get them both match fit and ready for the second half of the season where I think both of them could be important for the team.
    Whilst its disappointing to see Fabregas out with another injury, I hope we will see Nasri playing in the middle where he has been flourishing this season for both club and country. A midfield set up of Nasri and Wilshere with Song in the holding role should easily over run the Villans and I for one much prefer to see Song in the more holding role where he can provide the necessary cover to our back line. Much as I appreciate Song’s efforts in the middle of the park, I feel that his lumbering runs forward just seem to slow us down, I’d much rather he sat in the middle and pinged the passes around.

  11. The good the bad and the ugly, you sure can say that again. the support for the home game was supurb, and the first half as well (The good) Fabregas’s handball,(The bad) Tues game (The ugly)if we want to get out of this mess we need a bit of(Magnam force) coupled with a bit of (Dirty Harry) and perhaps we’ll have (A few dollars more)
    Jokes asside we have been at our worst,and in all honesty, i cannot see it changeing anytime soon, the January window opens soon, and its a must, to bulk up our squad, if we had foresight in the last window, we could have been well clear and looking for a nice Christmas break, instead were just a lot of (Pale riders)looking for an(Enforcer)

  12. Darius,

    Another delightful blog. Your contributions are becoming the highlight of my week.

    “You cannot discount that they’re playing more like the home team when they’re away – and that is a form of indictment of what we as fans do to make the Emirates a fortress.” Spot on!

    Arsene has actually had to ASK HIS OWN, HOME FANS to support the team: noting their youthfulness and nervousness. Sheesh!!!

    Anyway, hopefully we’ll get a result at Villa park and begin oru ascent. Let’s not forget that if we win tomorrow, we’ll be top of the league – at leaast until the other two teams play later on.

    COYG

  13. Aye, we need to tighten up – you know ‘Any Which Way but Loose’! Nothing but a win this weekend will suffice, I hope we can clear these demons out of our heads ’cause I know we’re much much better than this!

  14. Speaking of movie classics – I love me some Bud Spencer and Terence Hill movies. I’ve got to get one this weekend to cheer my spirits up.

  15. Great article Darius

    “It’s what keeps us awake at night, tossing and turning and making our loved ones wonder why it is that we get so affected and so emotional when Arsenal lose a game. If you didn’t feel this way, I would suggest that it’s possible you’re not truly a Gooner.”

    Loved that and the ‘fanning up’. The atmosphere at clubs like Shaktar would put the shits up any team and really is the ‘extra man’. Judging by the Braga match, the massive influence a loud crowd can have on a ref is quite massive (and baffling considering they’re meant to be some of the best officials in the world). We need to make the Emirates a scary bowl of screaming, chanting Gooners, that would have even the most old fashioned, committed ‘ard men trembling… I know a stadium takes a while to gain that kind of atmosphere, but we’ve been here a few years now, let’s get behind the team, and up the volume!

  16. Great news for Ramsey. A month of getting back into it, in a slower paced league against ‘lesser’ opponents, will be just what he needs for both confidence and match shaprness… Very astute bit of business by Wenger. Can’t wait to see him back in Arsenal colours!

  17. Speaking of home support, your theory seems to conflict with statements attributed to Diaby sometimes ago about arsenal fans not asking enough of the players

  18. Henristic – I suppose it depends how you ask ‘enough’ of the players. Is it by being quiet or by booing them? I think shameless and extremely loud vocal support of the kind you find in Turkish stadia or at Shaktar will automatically transmit to our players.

    The plain truth is that we don’t do it as well as we could and it shows.

  19. I remember when we beat Fenerbahce 5-2 away – their crowd was just out of this world. Intimidating, deafening and leaving you wondering whether we’ll ever achieve that at the Emirates.

  20. Great post mate. Always a good read.

    We’ll look back at this week at the end of the season. It will be just a blip in the road when we have trophies to spare we wont care what the spuds are doing with the “New Generation” team. I cant wait to see Bale shaking hands with Mourinho.

  21. Good post Darius. It’s obviously better if your support helps build a home fortress but I’ve watched Arsenal sides, and Argyle sides, suffer from quiet or even hostile crowds many times in the past.

    The better sides rolled up their sleeves and showed us what they could de- Eboue has recently done just that. Weaker sides curl up and fade away. Which is this current team? We are about to find out.

    They can make the Emirates a fortress. Fans will come on board to complete the job.

    I’m certainly not excusing piss poor support, God help us, but the crowd cannot define the team. Their strength should be what the crowd responds to. The reverse can see poor and average sides, Liverpool and the spuds spring to mind, respond above their abilities for a while. It can’t last though.

    Talking of Argyle, they’ve got Ridsdale sniffing around them. Poor bastards.

  22. Darius | November 26, 2010 at 9:37 am |

    “…The plain truth is that we don’t do it as well as we could and it shows.”

    But that has always been the case at arsenal, no? And like I mentioned yesterday, it didn’t stop us being a fortress at home last season.

    I’ve read in places that Highbury wasn’t all that loud either. My own personal experience belies this, but I was only ever there for one game and I have to admit I was so caught up in the excitement of it all my memory might have been exaggerating the atmosphere a bit.

  23. Consolbob,

    I’d say this team will be more like Eboue, only in our case, we’ll go on to be the best, rather than second choice right back.
    By the way, do you have any examples of players who ‘curl up and fade away’ after receiving poor treatment from fans?

  24. Jason Lee Henristic

  25. But will turning The Emirates into a fortress help us get better results?

  26. lol PZ, if we have some hot oil to pour, a drawbridge and a crocodile infested moat, it should have some influence on the results…

  27. LOL Geo – you forgot Fabianski’s pink outfit.

  28. Oh yeah, how could i forget! lol.

  29. What does everyone think of the Cesc issue? I think he’s going to be fine, but he’ll need to be brought back into it much more carefully. In the last 2 seasons he’s come back slightly too soon and we’ve suffered (as he has obviously) as a result. I don’t buy into this ‘as knacked as Owen’ crap. But i was slightly worried when Cesc himself was coming out about playing so many games since the age of 16 etc. See how it goes, but i think with a little more patience, he’ll come back like the Cesc we know and love.

  30. Individual players Henristic? Well, many Arsenal sides over the years have had very average players at times but usually they tried their hardest in spite of the indifference and sometimes criticism coming from the crowds. Highbury for much of the late 70’s and parts of the 80’s could be a harsh place to ply your trade as a professional footballer.

    A friend reminded me in a email the other day that things could be a lot worse as on ..”on bad days, I recall Morrow, Hillier, Selley, and McGoldrick spread across the midfield.” Lean times but those players usually played to their limited abilities. But players that actually faded away under criticism? Not many. Jon Sammels was a very good player unfairly unappreciated by the crowd and was moved on when he could and should have been a fixture. Peter Marinello from the same era perhaps, although we never saw too much of him. The expectations of him by the crowd were never realised and his career failed.

    I think Arsenal teams in my time have usually been fighters. Argyle sides I have watched have certainly capitulated and been broken up, the fate of failing teams anywhere.

    I see your point of course. We can never really know if a player fades away because of crowd pressure. I’m willing to believe though, that many do.

  31. Excellent writing Darius.

    I have voiced my conercns over the Emirates atmosphere for a while. I have been to Highbury on about 30-40 occasions, and it was quiet at certain premiership games most notably for some reason. When it was Champions league or lague cup the crowd seemed to come alive a little.

    I havn’t had the experience of visiting the Emirates just yet, but I am trying my best for the Man Utd game in christmas when I’m over. It won’t be a fair comparison I suppose as its one of our biggest games, which we will win 3-0 🙂

  32. Can this Arsenal team be accused of being ‘naive’ (as in not cynical enough to plow the furrows of a turgid draw, or hold a lead when the momentum changes, or more politely ‘close the game’)? In a way, I would say yes. It is an attacking team, no doubt, and expresses itself that way no matter the circumstances. It does find problems switching to pure defensive mode, especially without the lifeblood of possession, but then again, not always.

    I suspect most managers motivate their team, psychologically, by fear. Fear of being dropped. Fear of failure, of mistakes, of fans even. Fear of the boss’s anger and peer pressure. I suspect Wenger motivates this team in a diametrically opposite direction. Freedom. Well, it’s theory, I have no idea.

    This would account, in a young team, for recent and other lapses of consistency, an unquestioned ability to outplay, dominate possession and attack so wonderfully for some weeks, and then – sometimes – not the next.

    Of course, freedom – by definition – comes with individual responsibility, while fear is generated by collective ‘stick to my rules or else’ observance, which would account for the sharp difference in styles.

    I think Arsenal sorely misses RvP, because of his sense of ‘freedom with responsibility’, the example on the pitch. He creates goals, is not shy to take responsibility to score too, and gets stuck into any midfield battles for possession and space, and never stops. It is a leadership role, whether he is captain or not. Wilshere shows similar balance of attitude for one so young. Denilson has ben under-stated (more responsibility than freedom) and is noticeably more attack minded this season.

    Fabregas is comparable to RvP, but surely not fit even before the latest hamstring, or something; form and fitness anyway not 100% (which often leads to injury).

    Hell’s teeth, the kids are growing up before our very eyes. That’s one reason I say support them, tomorrow, when they are all grown up, it’s too late.

    Enjoy. It’s a thrilling journey we are being offered. No fear!

  33. Good points ZP.

    I agree abut the missing of Robin. Great inspiration to all of us.

    I really like “Hell’s teeth, the kids are growing up before our very eyes. That’s one reason I say support them, tomorrow, when they are all grown up, it’s too late. ”

    All too true as consolslel keeps reminding me about the grandchildren!

  34. Great post Darius. What we are going through makes me philosophical and reminds me of Napoleon Hill’s classic “Think and Grow Rich.” Hill surmises that 98% of society is made up of failures in life. Of the 2% who are successes they’d been failures as well but learnt from their mistakes. Also that the most dangerous period is before success. We probably need just a little tweeting and we’ll be on our way to paradise. The positive is that we are the best run club in the world. Success is closer than most realize!

  35. well said!

  36. Well said ZP.
    Does anyone know if Wenger is the first manager at our level with this laissez faire attitude to management? Does anyone know if anyone football manager has successfully employed this approach at the highest levels in football before now?

    Whilst I think a more hands on approach is required for this team, if/when they become champions, won’t it be something if it turns out Arsene was the first to successfully implement such a policy?

  37. We do miss RvP but we miss big Thomas Vermaelen even more. He’s a proper rock at the back, more than perhaps we knew. Any end in sight to his ankle knack?

  38. I’d be tempted to try a 442 against Villa, with RvP and Chamakh up front, Arsh and Nasri on wings, with Song and Denilson/Jack in the middle… They’ll all roam anyway as we know, but i just want to see RvP and Chamakh linking up, causing havoc..! Doubt he’ll change the formation at this stage though, so maybe RvP will have to start wide in order to have them both on the pitch..?

  39. Henristic – Cruyff was apparently a lot like that for Barca, and they were pretty successful then!

    And fourstar – i agree, TV5 has been a big loss. More aggression at the back has been needed at times and Tommy would definitely bring that to the party…

  40. Never forget that it is YOUR money that pays wages, YOUR money that is invested into the squad. I don’t think that we actually receive good value for that money. For any other service provided if you’re not getting value for money you make your point clear & I feel ought to understand that under-funding the senior squad will never result in climbing the league, it will always mean a run-off for a place between 2nd & 4th.
    Investment in youth bears fruit later, for continues success we need good quality signings to bridge the gaping holes in the squad

  41. 4star
    i keep hearing we miss TV,but last season with him and Gallas as CB’s we conceded more goals than the season before.Its amazing how good a player becomes when they are injured.
    As for RVP how can we miss someone who cant put a run of 25 plus games in one season together?

  42. Don’t try to tarnish Darius’ good name mate. Have you not noticed that Wenger’s been spending more in recent seasons on players? Arshavin, Vermaelen, Koscielny? He would never have spent more than 5 mil on a defender before, due to our stadium move and costs involved, but also because he’s prudent and clever, not trigger happy and short sighted. He’s spending money in an intelligent way, bringing in players for their actual value (or cheaper) rather than spending 30 mil for a retard like Milner…

  43. Andy – Gallas was not a good communicator, and caused rifts in the team. A solid centre back partnership relies on harmony as well as a good technical level. Our defenders now seem to have a better understanding of eachother, but with TV back in there, we’ll have that extra bite and aggression that imo i think we’ve been missing in some games.

  44. That’s a bit of a red herring, Andy, as he won’t be partnered with Gallas this year.

    If we ever get him back… *sigh*

  45. Totally agree about the Emirates crowd. I’d go one further and say not only are they anxious about our reaction, but also that our own anxiousness rubs off on them. You could feel it when Spurs got a goal back – the whole stadium tensed up. I think we’d be amazed how much impact that has on a subconscious level on the players. We are a very demanding, ‘high maintenance’ crowd, and we are very rarely the ’12th man’. In fact, we’re usually only the 12th man when it stops mattering because we’re 5-0 up!

  46. brilliant article, great blog, at last some sense in the world of blogs. totally agree about the home support being terrible, and that the carling cup support will be so much better, be saying it for ages, we have too many tourist fans that just sit there and soak up the atmosphere!! CC night will be full of those real fans unable to afford a season ticket. i wish we could confiscate season tickets from the late arrivers and the early leavers, we don’t want you in our ground.

  47. What’s a hands-on approach?

  48. And Darius Wannabe – I REALLY hate that attitude. It seems to be more prevalent amongst gunners than any other fan set.

    Firstly, it’s not like you don’t already know what you’re paying for. If you don’t want to fund the team, don’t buy a ticket.

    Secondly, of all people, to say Arsenal fans don’t get a good deal just shows how far from reality some people are. Do you realise how lucky we are to see amazing (and to a huge degree winning) football at the Emirates? We’ve lost a few matches at home this season, but for the most part if I’m going to an Emirates match against anyone other than Man U or Chelsea over the last few years, I know I’m almost guaranteed to see my team win, and win in style.

    Thirdly, in no other context would you feel that buying a ticket bought you the tights you claim we have. If you buy a cinema ticket, you wouldn’t claim that gives you a right to demand how that particular Hollywood studio is run. If you go to a west end musical, you wouldn’t claim that gives you a say in the next show Andrew Lloyd Webber puts on!

    If you don’t like the way our team plays football, or the way it is made up, then don’t buy a ticket!

  49. Well said Albo.

  50. We don’t have a great record bringing players back to full fitness without new injuries after these leg breaks at Atsenal, but I worry that a different club that takes him on a short term loan will not have rhe same committment to Ramsey’s long term health. We have to be very careful managing his return and under close supervision. That is less likely to happen at Forest who will just want to play Ramsey and get the most out of him for the month he is there.
    I can only think that this step and change in policy has to do with Ceac’s injury and a feeling that we will need Ramsey to back him up if Ceac doesn’t recover well.
    It is a bit risky, but I hope he comes through well. Maybe this way there will be less pressure for Ramsey to come back into our first team, and they think the reserves won’t work well enough.

  51. Darius Wannabe,

    Not exactly, our wage bill is higher than the money that comes from match receipts.

    You’re clearly getting value for money because the cost of running Arsenal football club is 2.5 times what you’re paying for tickets, and that’s even for the most expensive box seats.

  52. Good point Limestone. Hopefully they’ll be a bit more professional than that. There has probably been some kind of agreement between the clubs to ensure he doesnt get rushed into things too quickly – i hope so anyway…

  53. Comparing football club supporters to theatrical audiences is actually indicative of a problem rather than a good analogy.

  54. That’s true too Limsetone, but you can see the point he’s trying to make.

  55. There are people who’d give their right arm to be able to go and see the club we all love, but they can’t because of a load of part-timers who arrive late, leave early, can’t be bothered to sing and then complain when the team doesn’t win 5-0 every week.

    You can see why there’s some grumbling, no?

    Just saying.

  56. Interesting observation Limey, however, it’s not without cultural bias. I’ve been to cinemas and theatres where the audiences were whooping and hollering at what they were seeing. The most recent shockingly enough happened here in London at the Prince Charles Theatre. They were showing The Warriors and the audience was amazing.

    Admittedly there were issues with the reel (original cut) which may have sufficiently altered the temporary culture of the audience, but the result was an amazingly gratifying and interactive experience.

    However, given the culture of cinema-goers in London, I ultimately agree with you; it is a problem. The triggering of crowd antics is generally spontaneous but often repetative and short lived, and so I wonder what the crowd would make of it if the triggering actually came from a stadium operator, like the guy who annouces the goal scorer. Yeah it may be cheesy, but what is cheese if not family friendly fun?

  57. Ole Gunner | November 26, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
    You’re clearly getting value for money because the cost of running Arsenal football club is 2.5 times what you’re paying for tickets, and that’s even for the most expensive box seats.

    Interesting stat, how did you arrive at it?

  58. On Ramsey loan, i think it might be a bit risky but it is a calculated risk. Arsene have said that Ramsey has physically recovered and know he needs game time to regain match fitness and reserve football cannot give him that so i think it will be good for him if forest try to get the most out of the 1 month he is with them.

    On Cesc, it is clear the last few years we have put too much pressure on his shoulders and rush him back from injury just like the Villa fixture last year. We now have in Nasri, Rosicky, Wilshere and Ramsey, quality players who can come in and do ,to a certain extent, cesc’s job so we should be more cautious with him. He might not have got many match time during the WC but he didn’t have the needed rest you must have after a highly demanding season.

    Nasri’s change of stature for example is due to several factors, he is maturing, finding his place in the team but also got this needed rest that enabled him to get the right preparation and start the season in the best way possible.

    As for the atmosphere, I will be able to finally experience it first hand for the fulham game but I think the crowd needs to be vocal about its support. We might have been spoilt by beautiful football and forget the chance that we have to support a team with this kind of football philosophy. The atmosphere is important for several reasons.
    First it gives a lift to anyone performing in front of a big, vocal croud, wether you are a football player, a tennis player, a musician you will always feel more motivated and ultimately play better in front of a big crowd showing support than in a empty stadium with no atmosphere.
    Secondly the opponent will feel intimidated by this atmosphere. I live in France and I remember hearing after Marseille’s CL match against Liverpool at Anfield the Marseille players, who have one of the best atmosphere and the best supporters in France, saying how special and itimidating to have a crowd cheering and singing the love of their team for 90 minutes even when they were loosing and saying how special it was. Alomst every foreign player coming to play in the EPL will say that the atmosphere in English football is just amazing.
    And finally the referee, even if he tries to be as objective as possible will always be influenced by the crowd.

    So the people lucky enough to go and see Arsenal play need to create a hot atmosphere as it will not only benefit the team but also their own match experience! Who wouldn’t want to be in a packed stadium, watching his beloved team play good football with more than 60,000 people singing and showing their support.

  59. I think it was someone on ACLF who said that they were screaming their lungs out in support of the team at the Emirates for the ‘customer’ in front of them to turn around and say “shut up – I’m trying to watch the game”.

  60. Certainly agree with the dig at our home crowd. In my mind the fans are suffering from the same illness of our team, and manager…complacency!

    As fans we have been spoilt with fantastic football, great results, brilliant goals, and over the years some of the best players to grace a football field.
    We, I included, have become complacent, we expect to win, we fail to reval in what we see as minor success as it has been all too common. I truely don’t think that the game on Saturday meant as much to Arsenal fans as it did to Spurs fans, we saw it as a chance to go top of the league, 3 points on the menue. Whereas yids were desperate from every cross and every shot to turn into our net, they craved to prove their new look, champions league, Bale crazed team could get one over the Arsenal. The towns that Saturday night were painfully oozing with drunk, gloating Bale buming tossers, crazed on a pill of success, given to them yet again just like the shocking 4-4 draw which tasted like defeat a few years back, by an Arsenal team filled with great quality yet stuffed with complacency and empty on grit and common sense.

    Players need to concentrate on each game in hand, in fact each minute of each game in hand. Their naivety to assume a lead of 2 goals is enough to win a game must stop now. Their suicidal attacking as 8 players when we are already in the lead must stop now. While their hugely frustrating manor to give away cheap free kicks exposing our weakest link when in such a strong position in a game must stop now.

    As for Wenger, at times he just needs to reign them in a little, and tactically silence any now ineviteble fight backs. Why on earth is our holding midfield pushing on and getting foward when we are 2-0 up? It was 2-0, we did not need to win 5-0, we should have stayed disaplined, kept the ball, slowed down our attacks, and choosen the best moments to zip some quick balls and up the pace to finsih them off.

    Sadly the combination of players, manager, pundits and even our own fans behavour and appathy (even on this blog fans claim that WBA, Newcastle and Spurs at home should be 9pts – why should it be?) has created now a deep seeded mental state that Arsenal can not defend as a unit, they are incapable to seeing out games, and more concerning of all every team in the land, even your Stokes and Sunderlands know only too well regardless of the score…when its Arsenal lets just attack, get the ball in the box as we still have a chance!!!

    How do you change this…easy lets buy buy buy, or sack Wenger! SICK of hearing it. Where do such fans think we would be without Wenger – the greatest manager to work in England in my mind. It will be a worrying day when we need to replace this true great.

    And those who demand we buy Buffon, Cahill, YaYa, Villa…do you really want to be that team. I don’t, I want to be that team who take pride in football, how its played and how it should be run. If it means we don’t lift as many trophies as United – fine I can sleep with that. There will come a day when pundits who love to slate ‘the Arsenal way’, will have no choice but to praise what has been achived. My vision is that will be in the form of players like little Jack, Gibbs, Frimpong, Ramsey, Walcott, Afobe, Vela and Wellington making hay in our Premiership, and hopefully winning that recently elusive title one more time before Wenger hands the keys over…

    Only one things can change our own and our oppositions mindset, the next games. If they learn, if we support, they will win, we will keep clean sheets, they will make home a fortress. No we don’t get paid £50k a week, infact our tickets cost £50 a pop, but we can all do our bit to help support, and dare those fans who boo and complain without doing their little bit!

  61. The other day, I read St. AIC castigating Shotta (lucky guy lives somewhere in the Caribbean, on a beach maybe, or maybe not) for not attending matches. I live in Zimbabwe. That’s South of the Emirates (and no beaches).

    It almost physically pains me when the local fans – who have the means to actually see Arsenal live – would complain. You have no idea how lucky you are. My last jaunt to Emirates (we drew v Liverpool, Cesc got injured, and 2 weeks later Bendtner scored a beaut v Bolton; RvP assist) took months planning and probably cost me around 700 pounds, including the ticket, bought incidentally from seats reserved for visiting fans, which I found interesting. All in all, the atmosphere was not bad, although I was a alarmed when the Pool supporters actually out-sung the whole of our stadium.

    And to atmosphere. The atmosphere in my local bar (packed with African Arsenalistas) is more like electric-shock. While we don’t know the songs, I daren’t even take the weak, timid or frail – when we score, Shotta can hear it all the way over in Kingston, Jamaica. St. AIC can’t, since he’s deaf.

  62. Henristic | November 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm |

    Matchday income is about £80-90M. It costs >£200M to run the club. The wage bill alone is >£100M.

  63. The other day, I read St. AIC castigating Shotta (lucky guy lives somewhere in the Caribbean, on a beach maybe) for not attending matches. I live in Zimbabwe. That’s South of the Emirates (alas no beaches).

    It almost physically pains me when the local fans – who have the means to actually see Arsenal live – would complain. You have no idea how lucky you are. My last jaunt to Emirates (we drew v Liverpool, Cesc got injured, and 2 weeks later Bendtner scored a beaut v Bolton; RvP assist) took months planning and probably cost me around 700 pounds, including the ticket, bought incidentally from seats reserved for visiting fans, which I found interesting. All in all, the atmosphere was not bad, although I was a alarmed when the Pool supporters actually out-sung the whole of our stadium.

    And to atmosphere. The atmosphere in my local bar (packed with African Arsenalistas) is more like mild electric-shock. While we don’t know the songs, I daren’t even take the weak, timid or frail – when we do a good move or almost score, well you can’t think straight for the shouts, gasps and oohs and aaahs, and laughter, and non-stop chatter from the throng analysing every move at high volume; and when we score, Shotta can hear it all the way over in Kingston, Jamaica. St. AIC can’t, since he’s deaf. I could only describe it as good-spirited joyous anarchy, amidst a lot of laughter. No one leaves too sad, because Arsenal so rarely disappoint. I mean do we ever play without some great piece of football to heighten the senses? It’s the drama of Arsenal that people so love. The anticipation of a move so exquisite that it becomes a talking point for hours, sometimes days.

    The poster who most sounds African-in-spirit is Delia Block 113, bless her.

  64. Zimpaul, off the record. Do the Ndebeles’ in Zim have a Reed festival?

  65. Gooner Guru,

    As for Wenger, at times he just needs to reign them in a little, and tactically silence any now ineviteble fight backs. Why on earth is our holding midfield pushing on and getting foward when we are 2-0 up? It was 2-0, we did not need to win 5-0, we should have stayed disaplined, kept the ball, slowed down our attacks, and choosen the best moments to zip some quick balls and up the pace to finsih them off.

    I assume you’re talking about Alex Song against Spurs. But you need to pay attention when you watch the games. Alex Song wasn’t the holding midfielder sitting deepest against Spurs, that would be Denilson.

    Against Spurs we always had a holding midfielder sitting deep. This was so clear to see, I can’t for the life of me understand why so many are saying the same blind thing.

  66. Kenyan G, no, although the cultures and language are close cousins, not the same as the Swazis, the Reed Festival is very special, although the festival of first fruits or first harvest (Ntwasa), is similar and comparable. Nor do siNdebele have a royal family in the same way (although rumour has it that the royal clan – Khumalo – is keeping the heir to the throne under wraps).

  67. Thanks Zimpaul. Will browse over this ‘Ntwasa.’ No such things up here. We lost our culture and replaced it with bad Mexican soap operas!

  68. Hmmm, looks like snow clouds out there to me… Not looking good for travelling this weekend, hopefully it’ll hold off until Monday.

  69. ZimPaul | November 26, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    “Hell’s teeth, the kids are growing up before our very eyes. That’s one reason I say support them, tomorrow, when they are all grown up, it’s too late.”
    Speaking for myself (and I am sure some other ACLFers) as a supporter of Wenger’s vision, I have underestimated how difficult it is to rebuild a new team and how long it takes to turn fantastically talented young footballers into a seasoned, consistent team of new Invincibles. The transition has come with many false dawns, actually too many late season failures. Psychologically, it must be very challenging to teach young kids who have always been extra-talented vs their peers that innate skills are insufficient to become champions against seasoned, often cynical, older pros who will suss out your every weakness to gain that critical advantage in a tight game. The arrogance of youth is a particularly dangerous weakness. Counter this with the shock of defeat and the fear and uncertainty engendered after recent defeats at the Emirates as recently reported.
    Despite the earnest appeals for fans to do their part, especially at home, it is down mostly to the players themselves and the wise leadership of the manager. Just like Barceloana which is a comparable footballing team, players have to mature, develop mental toughness and an unshakeable commitment to playing the Arsenal-way s to overcome many external obstacles to becoming a championship team. It is taking time. Just be patient.

  70. Apparently gonna be minus 6 degrees on sunday night! Sorry, i know weather’s one of the lowest forms of conversation. I’ll shut up now…

  71. Ole, I stand corrected if you and others feel that we maintained a defensive midfield last Saturday. My opinion is that both full backs and our midfield pushed on far too much without need. Both Denilson and Song seemed intent on attaching, which in such a strong position I am sure if it where Fletcher and Carrick, Essien and Mikel, De Jong or Barry, they would have been content to hold and sit.

    More concering on this topic is that Denilson is used in a role behind Song in the first place! Though I think Denilson will continue to develop into a decent player, can anyone tell me one skill set he possesis which suit him to this position???

  72. I agree with Shotta. It’s easy to say that we’ve been waiting how ever many years for a trophy or whatever, but it is a long process, and that’s what Wenger’s been saying for the last 5 years… We’re beginning to see the results of this transitional process, not long to go now.

    A bit more voice in the stadium definitely won’t hurt though!

  73. @ ZimPaul “the kids are growing up before our eyes”
    That is very true, and you can see it from year to year how they change in physical apearance. Not only our young players but most young players. Even Rooney, his face, it was totally round before, now its more man shaped and squareish. He looks more like Rooney the man than rooney the boy. And it only happed last year that, which also happend to be his best season so far.
    Fabregas, his appearance this year compared to last or the year before, its huuuuge differences, he is about to become a man. Even little walcott is changing, and i think next season we will start to see the “real” him.
    Someone said that the real difference in Bale this year is that “he has properly grown into his body”. And that is the difference between say him and Walcott. Walcott has beefed up a bit this year though. But i reckon by the start of next season, he will have grown into his body to over the year, and we will start to see the real him.
    I mean imagin Wilshere at 23. Hes already a hardass on the pitch, he will deffo grow more frame and more muscles over the next 5(!) years. He will become a very dangerous man indeed 🙂

  74. I don’t buy all this about the crowd. Although I would love the atmosphere to be like the highbury I remember at the end of the 70s and early 80s, times have moved on. Stadiums are now expensive all-seater affairs and there are more women and children there which has changed the atmosphere. The premiership is now global, money-spinning “entertainment” played in corporate stadiums. The soul has been long since been sold I’m afraid.
    The fact that the team has contrived to lose 3 home games already, says more about the weaknesses of the team then the fans.

  75. @geo -6?? dont you brits have the sewer pipes on the outside of your houses? Man your shit is gonna freeze muahahaha.

  76. Guru – his amazing ability to anticipate and intercept, his seemless interchanging passes, the way he keeps the ball moving and the team ticking over, much like a more technical Gilberto… He isn’t a makelele type or an Essien type, much more subtle, almost as effective, give him a couple more years and he’ll be up there with the best.

  77. lol poodle! Some do for sure… I’m not one of them, so my shit’s fine..! Last year we had a ridiculously and unpredictably cold winter, so much so that we ran out of salt to grit the roads. Caused havoc. Hopefully they’re much more prepared this year as it’s looking like another cold one for sure… Many matches played with orange balls for me!

  78. I meant orange footballs by btw 😉

  79. Gunner Guru,

    It just appears that some gooners just wont accept the actual roles that players are deployed in. Why can Denilson not be deployed in holding midfield, he played it very well against Spurs. He had Van der Vaart shackled, so much so VdV should have been booked for repeatedly fouling Denilson who always got to the ball first, and restarted our attacks.

    I’m sorry, your criticism is generic and doesn’t fit the match facts. At 2-0 up we weren’t throwing players upfield with abandon. It’s simply not correct.

  80. Geo – Denilson is obviously good with the ball, he can pick out simple passes all day long, and does read the game well – though these are skills all positions need. Defenders, Midfielders and Strikers all need to be able to make simple passes and read the game.

    Denilson will never have the ariel presence or Gilberto, and lacks a core desire within him to commit to every chase, every tackle and every ball. He isn’t either strong enough or quick enough to compensate the other, and his marking is slack. Yes his skills will improve, he may bulk up, but some things won’t change.

    I’m assuming by stating Makelele and Essien you are setting a standard…however subtle Denilson maybe, he will be some way of that standard, and if he is going to be up there with the best – then these are the players to be compared with.

    I hope he proves me wrong as the guy has been supported by Wenger very well over the years, and he comes across as a good lad.

  81. He’s a different kind of player to Essien who is completely different from Makelele.

    Makelele’s strength was tigrishness in the duel. Essien’s game is on physical strength and energy, Denilson’s strength is in knowing where the ball will be and getting there first.

    I think Essien is superior to Denilson of course and Makelele is a very limited player who would be a liability in a team that plays open football. The way he was a liability to Real Madrid because they always had the ball and he could do nothing when the team had the ball.

    Essien on the other had is the master of setting the tempo of the game.

    I really often get disappointed that people don’t see what Denilson is exceptional at. I keep saying it, watch when Arsenal push up high into the opposition area, and the ball comes back out. Denilson is ALWAYS first to the ball.

  82. Ole – yes my whole text was generic to be honest. Though from what I saw of saturdays game it supports it. But by your account, which I am happy to take as you probably saw more of it than me, this was not the reason behind conceding 3 second half goals. Though for the interest of pin pointing generic mistakes do you agree that it is an issue that we fail to change our tactics and mindsets to close out games time and time again?

  83. Guru – He’s only 22(?) and Gilbo was in his prime when he was at Arsenal. Makelele was only highly reveared when he was 30 +, and Essien’s 1 in a million…Denilson’s got 6-8 years of improving still, and as someone said earlier, he’s one of these that are yet to become a ‘man’ physically. Denilson’s interceptions are better than most players that i’ve seen. I’m not saying he’ll definitely be as good as either of those 2 players, but i think he will reach a level that’s as good as Gilbo (for example), if not better, and he was quality.

    I believe we’ll see what he’s really made of in a few years’ time. Only time will tell…

  84. Ole I agree with your comments of those players, and with the positives of Denilsons game you make…however time and time again he demonstrates his inability in dealing with defensive situations – only the other night he was totally caught out marking on the half way line as pretty much our last man!

  85. No Gunner Guru, I don’t really agree. Not all games and losses are the same or caused by the same thing.

    Recurrent problems we have imo is not the lack of defensive midfield cover, but the ability to handle transitions when we’ve pushed up high into the opposition half.

    Another one is weakness on set pieces which is as much about weakness as perceived weakness. If teams think you’re weak they’ll attack you that way and you will concede goals from that tactic. But as it is, we are vulnerable on set pieces.

    Another recurrent weakness is failing to make dominance count and make the most of promising situations. We’re the team that loses 3-2 after dominating the opposition end-to-end. We’re the team that had four 1-on-1s in a game and not one of them resulted in a shot on goal.

  86. Guru

    Denilson might not be a tackler or the best at heading the ball but he has a great reading of the game which enables him to make countless interceptions and get the first or second balls. This is more efficient than tackling because he is on his feet and ready to pass the ball and launch an attack whereas a tackle will not guarantee you that the ball will still be in your possession or of a team mate and you won’t be in a position to pass the ball straight away.
    Denilson skills is far more important in todays game than a guy who would always go into a tackle. When I play football, I play mostly in a defensive role DM, CB or LB and I was always told to try as much as possible to defend standing up, not to commit myself too much and tackle as a last resort because if you are on the floor you are out of the game!

  87. Geo – yes he is still young, and yes he will improve. But he has traits which players do not seem to change. I have seen it with top players and seen it with local players, some habits are un trainable.

    I am more confident his range or passing and shooting will shine through, allowing him to become a link up player between the back 5 and the front 4, while having the confidence and ability to setup and score goals. Add this to his defensive positives, we will have a handy player who hopefully shows faith to a club who have given him the time and a platform to develop.

  88. Fair enough Guru, we’ll have to see how he develops and what he becomes… He’ll definitely stay here until we want him to go. He’s a true Gooner.

  89. Let’s face it, the major weakness in fact is, as Darius pointed out, Fabianski’s propensity to be shocked pink in goal. Is this the result of being called up to # one spot?

    I think Arsenal needs a Time Lord, like Dr. Who. I shall be offering my services, this millenium or next.

    Have a great weekend ACLFers. Happy hunting at … whatever it’s called … Villain Park, Houllier’s Corner, Carew’s Cross etc etc … Gonna be a biggie, no doubt.

  90. I bet Denilson ends up as Arsenal captain, and one of the greats!

  91. Gunner Guru,

    Honestly I can’t blame Denilson for the Braga goals. Any idea that Denilson would win a 50 yard foot race with Mateus (who has blistering pace) is ridiculous. I won’t expect Cesc to defend that situation. I won’t expect Carrick or Modric to defend that situation.

    He should never have been exposed in the first place and when he was the centre back should have gone to cover much quicker.

    You’ve gone for the easy blame there. How was a Braga player able to pick out a pass to Mateus? That’s where things broke down for us.

    When you put 8 men in the opposition area on a set piece, you are vulnerable when the ball comes back out. But it’s a vulnerability that can be easily dealt with, by having a recovering player 10 yards from the opposition area who sees where the ball will fall and makes sure he gets there first or at the same time as the opposition player. If the ball goes wide, the nearest forward has to sprint to block it.

    5 minutes before that Braga goal, the same situation that led to the goal occured. Guess who was first to the ball, who won the ball and started us on the attack again? Denilson.

    When he dropped into being essentially a centre back, there wasn’t anybody to perform that role! So we suffered from being 10 men down.

    Someone said it was bad organisation to have Denilson back. Maybe so but who could we have put there instead. All game until that point, when we had set pieces we put Eboue in the position Denilson was where the goal occured.

  92. First Lady @8:06, I think you may have just captured me ‘eart!

  93. Gunnerluc – so by Denilson employing this tactic is this why players run past him, like Rooney did so easily last season, an example you will see repeated every couple of games, is this why our midfield defend our backline so well and we keep clean sheets so often! Is this why Denilson plays DM for Brazil! Is this why he is better than Song, Flamini, Diarra, Petit and Gilberto – or will be one day as a DM! and is this why if you are honest with yourself you would have him in our best first xi? NO

    YES staying on your feet is part of the modern game, otherwise they would all make fouls of themselves to players like George Best in the old days!

    BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t tackle, make chase with drive and desire, have a commitment to win every challenge, I seem to remember Flamini doing a dam good job of it!

  94. I think we perform a lot, lot better with Fabianski in the pink. I would be interested to see if the stats bear me out on this one. My feeling is that Frenchmen are twenty or thirty times more likely to be colour blind than regular people. The contrast between our grey goalkeeper’s jersey and the heavy skies over grounds in the midlands and northeast – well, it just won’t cut the mustard I don’t think. It’s confusing for the Frenchmen. Kos and Squilly need a big pink kick up the arse if they are ever going to grow up, be like Tony Adams and be in the right position once in a while. It’s no good them wandering about like lost, one-eyed moles in the sunshine when Joey Barton comes a-hoofing. Pink or bust.

  95. Darius:

    Nice post. Agree with Henristic @ 8:24 regarding the post.

    Not sure why this talented group of players seems to be underperforming. We all have our theories but in the end there is probably not 1 right answer. I think we have to stop looking at outside influences like the crowd noise. Arsenal needed the high dollar patrons to fill the seats to pay its bills and those types of crowds are rarely as vocal. I would think that is a very minor part of the problem.

    I suspect most would agree that to this point that the problem is between the players ears and not in their legs and feet. For this group to be “complacent” after all the “stick” it has gotten from those aweful pundits and fans about being trophy free is very difficult to understand. As all groups of players, this core of players has developed a culture. I think it has grown up with a lack of attention to detail and concentration on the defensive end of the pitch and thats our single biggest problem. Thats just my opinion and worth nothing more then that.

    Throughout history of sport there are many examples of groups of players with incredible potential and skill but for some reason they chronically underperform and never reach that potential as a team. I truly hope this group is not one in that category. This team needs a great run of games, may be taking 26 out of 30 points to right itself. They clearly have the talent to do that. Lets hope it starts soon.

  96. Gunner Guru,

    The Rooney goal last season was ridiculous defending from Denilson. Another example was a similar situation that occurred against Stoke in the FA Cup.

    But the Rooney goal is the most annoying goal I have ever seen Arsenal concede in the last 20 years. We had 5 players who could have stopped the move cold if they’d just calmed the fuck down and got things right. Vermaelen, Denilson, Nasri, Clichy and Song were disgraceful in defending that situation.

  97. I am a big fan of the Prince Charles Cinema, Gadget. I once saw a Peter Jackson double-bill there: Bad Taste followed by Braindead. Best fiver I ever spent. And the messiest. They’re showing one of my favourite films this weekend too! Five Easy Pieces. Haven’t been there in years… Thanks for reminding me about it!

  98. No problemo my good man, an awesome cinema such as that must be shared and visted often.

    Must be said, I disagree with your reasoning into Fab Omega’s pink kit. The reason is another Wenger masterstroke. You see, any footballer of the heterosexual persuasion is always aiming to get their balls hitting a bit of pink, and so, most strikers will sub-consciously thrust their shots right into the middle of our keeper’s chest.

    My Gadget compendium says this fact will be scientifically proved in 2158.

    The implications of this for anyone who scores against us is as clear as day

  99. Ole – lets hope they deal with Rooney and co better this time, think that one is coming round soon!

    As for Villa away, I hope Denilson and Arsenal shine as now is the time to put a run on. (like the spurs game I’ll have to catch the highlights being on a Saturday afternoon, I’ll try not follow with any generic critism, lets hope there is no need anyway).

  100. What a cheery soul you are, Bill. Like a bright ray of sunshine on a Winter’s day. Chronically underperform forever…. why don’t you just fuck off? I wish you’d taken a fancy to the blue of Chelsea, or skipped one more team along on your megadrive and chosen to follow Aldershot Town. F*Cking waste of space. You got one thing right… the value of your opinions. Christ. I know girls wholly disinterested with football who have more of a clue than you. F*ck off back to your World Series or whatever the f*ck it is you do.

  101. Ole Gunner | November 26, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
    …Someone said it was bad organisation to have Denilson back. Maybe so but who could we have put there instead. All game until that point, when we had set pieces we put Eboue in the position Denilson was where the goal occured.

    Gibbs could have covered instead of Denilson, Ole. That was certainly was organisation …. Fine Gibbs might have slipped or have been outpaced, but no one will be able to fault the team then. Putting one of the slowest players on the pitch in that position was ridiculous….

  102. lol Limpar, are you all right?

  103. Interesting hypothesis, Gadge. I wonder what that says about Tottenham’s infamous brown third kit the other season? Best not to delve too deep into that actually… as it were… oh dear.

  104. Delia----Block112

    Thank you ZimPaul 1.29. I did chip in late last night but have spent most of the week travelling up to the tennis at the 02 for my Federer fix and he delivered.
    Confidence is such a fragile commodity and we, the fans at the Emirates , need to play a much bigger role in raising the morale of the team. We lack the vocal support that teams such as Stoke , Blackpool and dare I say the Spuds have from their home supporters. The “arena” type stadium IMO is not conducive to generating the kind of atmosphere I remember in the “old days”, no matter how much arsenalisation the Club is undertaking on our behalf.
    I’m sure the away fans at Villa will give their all for the cause ,so let the rest of us take a leaf out of their book and make our selves heard in the same fashion at the rest of our home fixtures.
    As always COYRs

  105. Hahaha Limpar! Cutting stuff!

    Ole’s right though, we should have broken down the attack much further up pitch (this must be done when playing a high line) and we more often than not manage to do it. Barca won everything doing that last year. High energy and determination is essential for this to work, something the lads need to improve on for the rest of the season. Hopefully the last week is enough to snap them back into life…

  106. One minute you joking about Fabianski wearing pink, and the next minute you in some sort of apoplectic fit.

  107. Henristic,

    Yes it could have been Gibbs. That would have been a better choice.

    So that’s one to hang on the manager.

  108. Well, have a good weekend all. Let’s get back to winning ways…

    Up the Arse!!!!

  109. Apoplexy? That’s not apoplexy…

  110. Was I banned from embedding videos? Just me – what’s the deal?

    Understandable I suppose.

  111. Albo at 12:14 pm –
    Thats POTD for me!

    @Ole – regarding Essien, the comparison with Denilson is complete nonsense. That guy was bought in for 25 fucking million pounds.

  112. mj_gunner,

    Don’t know what transfer price means in modern football.

    I didn’t compare, someone else compared Denilson to Makelele and Essien.

    I think Essien is a better player than Denilson. He’s one player who would improve us immensely.

  113. It would be a disaster if at that price (& age) he was’nt better!

    We can compare Denilson, & more so, Song with Essien once they both are 25 at least. Although, I am aware of, & rue the fact that during their process of learning & gaining experience, the team has suffered.

  114. Ole –
    I did not accuse of comapring, was just expressing my views..

  115. Great article Darius

    “It’s what keeps us awake at night, tossing and turning and making our loved ones wonder why it is that we get so affected and so emotional when Arsenal lose a game. If you didn’t feel this way, I would suggest that it’s possible you’re not truly a Gooner.”

    ========================

    We’ve been doing that consistently for the last 5 years.

    Its not only a single game. Its been several seasons and certainly its not only the loved ones that see how we are affected by it.

    Its why we blog as well.

    By your reckoning.

    Doomers are true gooners.
    Welcome to the dark side.

  116. Agree with your post and as time wears on slowly in the week it becomes more bareable. However I feel like we have had out fair share of ‘bad moments’ from project youth and its time they started producing consistently. At the moment it just feels like ‘ground-hog day’….

  117. If I hadn’t slept for five years, I’d be tempted to try some heroin. Would valium work?
    I’ve heard of medics who like to knock themselves out in that manner after a 6o0 million hour long shift.
    How about some good ole opium? According to me grandparents local ‘erbalist, that’ll do the job…Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

    I can see a stately pleasure dome.
    No, wait. Cr*p.
    Is it Wemberly…?

  118. A midfield of Song, Wilshere & Nasri tomorrow?
    Possibly Rosicky too?

    Villa have their own injury problems:
    Out:Cuéllar, Reo-Coker , Albrighton (rave reviews from Villa fans, a grand total of three caps for the U21’s under Psycho’s stewardship), Delph, Petrov, Sidwell & Heskey.

  119. In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, a stately pleasure dome decree,
    in somethingsomething somethingelse
    Down to a sunless sea…

    …wonderful, Finsbury. My only advice – say neigh to Ketamine.
    —-

    We don’t need no Alex Ice Cream
    (Dow-wunsht dudda-dudda) x2
    All we need’s our ball-control
    (Dow-wunsht dudda-dudda) x2
    He-sa cha-sm ‘neath all things Arsenal
    (Dow-wunsht dudda-dudda) x2
    Alex leave them kids alone
    (Deedle-eedle-eedle-eedle-eedle-eedle-eedle-eedle)
    Hey! Ice Cream!
    Leave them kids alone!
    (Dow wow-wow whudda whudda)
    All in all he’s just a man ic-depressive arse hole
    (Dowduwunsht wudda-wudda)

  120. Need to be a bit generous there to make it scan. I don’t like pink Floyd… but somehow that makes it work better.

  121. Anyone knows whats happening to Diaby?

  122. Limpar:

    Sorry I could not get back to you sooner. I did not know it was my job to be bright and cheery. This core group has been together for several years and there is to much talent for it to have ended up 3rd or 4th. A couple years of inexperience and unusual number of injuries give a partial explanation, but its difficult not to at least think such doomer type thoughts after whats happened this year, especially last weekend. Hopefully the recent games have been a run of bad form and nothing more. No way this team should be in 3rd place. Time will tell what happens.

  123. Sorry about earlier, Bill. Came over all fractious. You know how it is, sand in the vagina… that sort of thing. Hope all is well with you and yours.

    And Go Rangers!

  124. Come on guys, AIC is not that kind of supporter! When we are winning he is all fine and dandy, only when we lose he seems to forget everything good that has ever happened and stops being a supporter. But he is not that kind!

  125. Or, Go Razors! …f*cked that up. Well, Go – whoever you support.
    Or just Go.

    Aren’t the San Antonio Spurs from round your way? Bet you hate them.

  126. I agree that 5 easy pieces is a great, great film.

    As an Arsenal supporter I would like not to think of myself as a customer or consumer. I hope none of us does–if we start, who can blame the club for treating us that way?

    Baseball season is over. NFL, hockey, basketball going on. But I say Viva futbol!

    Denilson is excellent at reading the game in front of him but not as adept, even regardless of issues of pace, at reacting to plays defensively when coming back toward goal. He offers us a great deal though, and apart from losing VDV and Bale in just that sort of situation did a remarkably good job on VDV and even was dominant in the air. Still, if Ramsey recovers to where he was last year and progresses as he ought, I would take him and Wilshere ahead of Denilson in many games.

    Just catching up after having to go away for work…

  127. Nice one. Let’s hope we wake up from our slumber.
    I just created an Arsenal blog and I’ll like you guys to check it out and leave your comments. Thank You
    http://www.goonerdaily.wordpress.com

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