Escape From Alcaraz As Arsenal Slide Into Semi’s

Carling Cup Quarter Final
Arsenal 2 – 0 Wigan Athletic

1 – 0 Alcaraz (41 o.g.)
2 – 0 Bendtner 67

As Manchester United were humiliated at Upton Park, Arsenal barely stumbled into second gear in victory over an unambitious Wigan Athletic side which showed no sign of improving their dismal away form this season.  In reaching this stage, Arsenal became the first team to reach fourteen League Cup semi-finals and with the remainder of the final quartet to be completed this evening, has perhaps the best chance to win the tournament for the first time during Arsene Wenger’s reign.

Arsenal were rarely in trouble during their ninth consecutive League Cup quarter-final and will believe that with the chances created, a more emphatic margin of victory should have been achieved.

Arsene rang the changes from the Premier League side with Emmanuel Eboue posting the biggest recovery since Lazarus having crumpled to the turf in Braga barely a week ago. His initial contributions were flamboyant, a fashion statement with white tights that would have caused envious glances from Keith Weller and promptly giving Wigan two openings in the first quarter of an hour, Moses finding the side-netting whilst Boselli should have done better with a wayward backpass from the Ivory Coast international.

Once the first fifteen minutes had been consumed, Arsenal started to exert a stranglehold on the game. Carlos Vela and Koscielny were denied breaking the deadlock, adding to Bendtner’s earlier miscued header.

The Mexican though was to be the author of his own misfortune in front of goal. As the half hour approached, Wilshere and van Persie combined with the Dutchman’s backheel finding Vela free in the penalty area. Having buried many such opportunities before, unsurprisingly Vela opted to lift the ball into the net only for it nudge wide on this occasion. It would be hard to decide who was more surprised by the miss; the crowd, Vela or Wigan. Before the interval, Arsenal’s standard Carling Cup front pair would both miss with presentable chances, Bendtner perhaps more culpable in this instance.

The breakthrough did come minutes before the half-time whistle. Walcott’s corner was missed by the Dane but not by Alcaraz, diverting the ball into his own net. All goals count and this one merely served to prove the point that Arsenal possess more threat from set-pieces; the delivery is very much improved this season.

The second half began as the first had ended; Arsenal very much in the ascendency, subdued by the weather but too good for the visitors. It took twenty minutes and more spurned opportunities before victory was sealed. Vela and Bendtner combined to good effect, the Mexican’s cross eventually met by a sliding Dane.

Walcott and Nasri both went close as the match drew to it’s conclusion, the England international missing the far post whilst the intervention of a Wigan defender on the line prevented the Frenchman from increasing the Arsenal tally.

Contentiously, Arsenal were denied two penalties from Martin Atkinson. Whilst the second is perhaps easier to understand – arguably the ball could have been to Figueroa’s arm – the first was baffling. It was immediately apparent that Figueroa had used his hand to prevent van Persie capitalising on an attack yet Atkinson failed to award a spot-kick when many of his peers would have had no hesitation. It is this type of inconsistency that drives supporters mad.

The biggest positive for Wenger though was the seventy minutes completed by Robin van Persie, the Dutchman was captain for the night and seemingly unscathed from his outing. The starting XI will only be stronger for his full return. van Persie was Man of the Match, the manner of the game entirely suited his rehabilitation, less harry and hassle than the Premier League.

Carlos Vela meanwhile is being criticised unfairly in some quarters for his misses last night. With 115 first team minutes played in the last two months, some expectations are too high. Players should be ready to come into the first team and play well – which Vela did last night, all things considered including the overall performance which I don’t think was anywhere near the levels that Arsenal can reach. The Mexican has a huge weight of expectation on him, built from the hype surrounding him as a teenager. His progress may not have been as he expected but his ability marks him out as a star of the game in the future. At 21, time is on his side. Patience is another matter.

The trials and tribulations of the preceding weeks are beginning to fade into the distance as consecutive wins bring the train back onto track. A big December awaits with the visit to Old Trafford and Chelsea coming to The Emirates, alongside a decisive European encounter with Partizan. The top three all have tough fixtures this month and two more consecutive wins will set these important weeks up nicely.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on December 1, 2010, in Arsenal, Carling Cup, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 217 Comments.

  1. Nice one Yogi.

    It’ll take a lot of work for the other teams in this league to catch up with Arsenal’s quality in depth. Utd showed that last night, as did the Chavs earlier in the competition…

  2. RVP played the Cesc role spectacularly. He was everywhere last night and truly immense. The 2nd goal was lovely to watch. Vela was class and he deserved a hat-trick for his work ethic. He and Gibbs were over-lapping like crazy, and these two will set the world aflame continuing as they do.

    I was really taken in by the Djourou Kos partnership. That was one smooth-arse defence. Djouro is some player and to be honest, he’ll probably become go on to be the best defender in the world. Lord knows the boy’s had an amazing education when you think of the players he’s shadowed.

  3. Thank you, Yogi. Much relieved that Wigan were unable to exploit the two openings in Eboué’s white tights.

  4. Gadget – Djourou’s progression and recovery has been one of the best things to have happened this year. He looked awesome a couple of years ago, only to be blighted by injury since. After a run of games and full fitness, he’s looked like the rock we started to see, great on the ball too. The amount of last ditch interceptions he seems to make is very impressive too.

  5. Some perspective is required- those focusing on Vela and Theo missing chances, Bendy as well should remember the conditions were atrocious, players were rusty! What was pleasing was the way we controlled the game and hardly allowed Wigan any foothold. One moment that stood was Koscielny bursting forward, going past 3-4 Wigan players with some deft controls and when he lost the ball recovered it with such determination! Kos/Djourou partnership looked rock solid too!

  6. Didn’t get to see the game but followed it on aclf! Interesting position played by RVP. Yogi rated him as man of the match. The Sun says it was Kieran Gibbs! Surely this must be our first cup in five or six years? Wenger has never won it and that would be nice leaving only the Champions league, the European super cup and the world cup for clubs!

  7. You make a good point about Vela’s limited playing time, but the most frustrating thing is that he can look great when he comes on as a sub at 3-0 or 4-0, but when he is asked to start he seems to struggle. I do question his mentality in tough situations, and he has not improved in his time at Arsenal – if anything, he has gotten worse.

    Bendtner also continues to frustrate, not so much for his errant finishing (although that is frustration enough), but because too often he drifts wide or deep when he needs to be up top. He could learn a lot about Chamakh, who has a much better positional feel.

  8. Vela hasn’t gotten worse Tim. He’s been offered much less playing time in recent seasons, partly due to injuries (mainly after playing for Mexico) and also because we’ve got a much stronger squad now, making it much harder for him to get onto the pitch. He hasn’t become a worse player at all, just more rusty. Not sure if he’ll make it at Arsenal, but he’s definitely got the quality, with a bit of desire and determination he could step up to be a dangerous Arsenal player in years to come.

  9. And he’s only 21 remember…

  10. I wouldn’t say man utd were humiliated. They did the best that could be expected against a much better team.

  11. I think if Vela is patient by the time he is 24/25 he will be fantastic and there will be room for him then. For the moment he has to play minor parts and wait for injuries.

    Van Persie! im so glad he is back. Djourou and koscielny looking fabulous. We can do this guys. We can win this cup for a start.

  12. Spot on ! Vela was much better than Walcott and Bendtner although Walcott did try very hard in the 2nd half. If he (Vela) continues this against better opponents then we have an able deputy for Arshavin.

  13. Vela needs a run in the team to really show what he can, or cant do

  14. Why am I always moderated on this site regardless of what name or email I use?

  15. Sooooopa, Super Schnezz!
    Sooooopa, Super Schnezz!
    Sooooopa, Super Schnezz
    Super Woijiech Schnezney!

  16. Also Vela assisted the decisive goal in the tie, sending us through to the semi-finals…

  17. Didn’t see the match but it looks (sounds) like the formation was kind of a 4-2-4 with Van Persie playing just behind the front man? Maybe Wenger looking to experiment with the abundance of strikers we have now and Fabregas out for a while? A way of playing two of Chamakh, Van Persie and Bendtner at a time if we need a goal. Imagine a defence attempting to keep out both Chamakh and Van Persie in the middle with the added threat of Arshavin/Rosicky and Nasri/Walcott.

    Also, if it does turn out that Vela is only in London biding his time until his European passport is finalised then I’ll not be a bit worried about him fucking off to warmer climes. Although if it turns out he hasn’t been using the club all this time, my apologies amigo.

  18. listened to game on the radio, which is so frustrating cause the commentator was more interested in telling us what the managers were wearing. First half sounded very flat, wigan sounded very poor, commentator laughed at crowd attendance anouncement, rvp sounded good. we can win this cup

  19. Geo, it was certainly a couple of degrees. A friend of mine had silly little canvas shoes on that took on lots of snow water very quickly and his feet may well have dropped off if we’d retreated to the refuge of the Hen & Chickens any later than we did. What had been billed as a quick restorative double Jamesons turned quickly into a full blown League Cup quarter-final victory party. How I made it into work on time this morning is still unclear.

  20. Geo, I agree Vela has quality – he has scored some brilliant goals for us – but it is exactly that lack of desire and determination (and a yard or two of pace) which make me question his ability to cut it at the club. That doesn’t come with fitness – you either have it or you don’t, and it is one of the key things that separate any good sportsperson from the great ones. I will be delighted if he proves me wrong, and his opportunities have been limited, but the great ones like Cesc and Jack naturally seize their chances; Vela hasn’t yet, and he has had more than a few of them.

  21. Hahaha! Sounds good Limpar 🙂 I was trying to watch a really bad stream of the match but gave up in the end. From what i saw though it looked pretty darn chilly! Can’t wait to watch it properly tonight…

  22. Fair enough Tim, but Jack and Cesc are very rare beasts… To expect that kind of progression from someone with less natural ability would be harsh. I think desire and determination can change from week to week, it’s a mental hurdle, something that definitely can be improved upon. I know that some weeks i’ve played with a certain complacency, and other weeks i’ve been really determined to get to every second ball, to bust a gut at every opportunity. Admittedly it’s pretty much always the latter, but either way, it’s a mental issue, not something that can’t be worked on.

  23. RvP in the hole worked then? Was he playing the deeper creative role most of the time? Or was it a free flowing front line as normal? The latter i expect…

  24. It was a slow start, but I thought everyone played well. Walcott, Vela and Bendtner all looked dangerous after the first 20 minutes or so. Vela missed a couple of chances, but looked slick in the build up.

    And obviously the potential was always there, but Gibbs has suddenly started looking seriously good. Not sure if he’s ready to take over from Gael yet, but there can’t be any harm in having two first class left-backs at the club.

    I wasn’t slating Vela yesterday btw. What’s been annoying is that injuries, as well as a gruelling and badly-scheduled international fixture list have held him back a little. It’s no exaggeration to say that we’ve only had glimpses so far, and at 21 he needs to be playing more often. Don’t think there’s anything particularly controversial about that.

    I’m hoping that the competition for places will bring the best out of the not-so-young fringe players.

  25. Bendtner was drifting around a bit too much for me. Like someone else said, he needs to look at Chamakh and learn a bit of positional sense at times. Chamakh always gives the midfield an option for a pass, he relieves a lot of pressure off the team. I know Bendtner and co are rusty, but its pretty evident that Chamakh has cemented his shot for a 1st team spot.

    The one thing I give Bendtner though is his anticipation in the box. If he continues to show he is a real goal threat, then he can force his way into the team. Then theres RvP….

    I don’t agree with YW’s MOTM, but he played good considering he has been out for so long. Some of his touches, and through balls to create goal scoring opportunities cannot be performed by anyone else.

    Wenger will soon have a serious selection headache in trying to keep all 3 CF’s happy in the coming weeks, but theres a lot of games, so they must all realise they will play their part in our quest for 4 trophies!

    Walcott was frustrating, on another night he would have scored a hatrick without particularly playing well. He had a few half chances and wasted opportunities which he will be disappointed about. Best he gets his rustiness out the way in the league cup I suppose.

    Vela I thought played well, but again will be disappointed he didn’t get a hatrick as well! The chip, I think everyone was shocked it didn’t go in. First time I have witnessed him messing one up.

  26. We’ve all been saying it for years, but our squad without huge numbers of injuries is ridiculously strong. Is there any squad in the country who could make 9 changes from an away game against a top 8 team and still have players of the standard of RVP, Walcott, Wilshere, Vela, Denny, Gibbs and Bendtner on the pitch? On last nights evidence Man U certainly don’t! And Chelsea have proved lately what we have all known – that if they had to deal with injuries to key players like we have had in previous seasons they wouldn’t cope nearly as well as we did.

    In fact, in a funny old way, injuries in previous seasons has helped player development in the squad enormously. There are now a really big number of second string players that have had so much 1st team experience that we don’t even think of them as second string anymore – Denny, Bendtner, Walcott, and Diaby would probably all be miss out in our strongest 11, for example.

    Secondly, Yogi is certainly right to point out that Vela has hardly had any game time and was undoubtedly rusty. Despite that, his ball for the second goal was sublime.

    Thirdly, I don’t think we have any player other than Chamakh who really suits the front man in a 4-3-3. Bendtner needs to learn to play without the ball – sitting on the shoulders of the centre backs and running into channels, rather than trying to come and play in the midfield. RvP, for me, just has too many awesome qualities as a creator to be in that position.


  27. Stupid phone posted before I had finished. Come to think of it tho, don’t think I had a ‘fourthly’ anyway! Come on the Gunners and bring on the semis!!!

  28. Joss 1

    Try posting under one name. Multiple name use gets moderated here. Stops trolls.


  29. Snowflakes lit-up falling in the floodlights of the Arsenal Stadium are very beautiful. The snowflakes hang in the air for a very long time, in contrast to the quick action on the pitch, and give the appearance that time has somehow been suspended. This effect made me very aware of the history of the club. Also a brief and strange sensation that all of that history and all of the ongoing present and all the future of AFC; the ground and the people and the players and the games – were all together right there in that moment, just for a second, all seeped together. I knew my mind was playing tricks on me when Robin Van Persie’s hair turned grey right before my eyes.

  30. Ah, I’ve remembered my ‘fourthly’! 🙂 It’s gone relatively unremarked upon, but Walcott looks to have done serious potential with a dead ball. He has come close this season (and pre-season) on a number of occasions with some sublimely struck free kicks, and his corner delivery is also getting better and better. I’m pretty sure he still hasn’t scored from a free kick yet, which is perhaps why no one has sat up and noticed, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on…

  31. Thanks, KS. Arshavin was amazing on Saturday. That has to be one of the best performances by any Arsenal player this season, and maybe his best all round contribution for the club so far.

  32. Just spotted this on twitter. Sagna on the bench.

  33. Oh dear, oh dear. Here we are, with 2 all-but ‘complete’ sides and only so many games to play and then when Ramsey and Vermaelen come back, and where IS Diaby, and gosh Frimpong back next season, and JET if course, and is it Aneke and Afobe and Landsbury and Eastmond, oh oh oh … my head hurts. And Nordveit and Miquel and maybe Cruise and Coquelin and Randall and my head is throbbing now and then Walcott needs games and Bendy too and Vela is rusty and needs time and now RvP is back and Rocisky is looking great and Nasri is the best and Arshavin is getting into gear oh no there’s Almunia and Schwezzznscheyey and then Cesc recovers and then is it Wellington that arrives and Gibbs is absolutely great and why does this have to happen all at once, and why now, and can’t we just buy a rock hard DM, CB, and another six-foot-five DM, and a keeper, and Djourou and Kos look wondrous and Wenger and Rice work well together.

    Surely the ManU way is better. Great youth coming through, more the able, new players in January, Giggs will play until he’s 45 and Anderson runs a lot and Chocolita or whatever is even Mexican and has a great after-goal glow and Berbatov is a rampaging monster and Roonie has no neck and it’s so simple that way, all you need is an anorak, a red hat and red nose, really.

  34. ZP, I think the nose has more of a purple hue to it.

  35. Didn’t play particulalry well, but got the result we needed.

    Interesting to see RVP play a deeper role. An average game by his standards, but more importantly more minutes under his belt. I thout Wilshere was very good last night, and Szchezny (sp) despite have nothing to do just oozes a confidence that all top keepers have.

    Vela did OK, but he is not going to get that many chances of 1st team action. When he does get them he needs to take them and give Wenger a selction problem. He is not doing that at the moment.

    Bring on the semi.

  36. I smell a vicious winning streak a-coming. Maybe I’m right and maybe I’m wrong. Something about Chamakh says “winner” (more than Bendy, whom I like). Something about Nasri says “now”. Something about RvP says “this is how”. All we need is a brown cow, and then we can ask the question.

  37. The look on purple hue nose’s face, as he quietly surveyed his young bucks, some twins, some not, just said “trash”. The looks on “Giggsy’s” face said “I agree boss”.

  38. Well, I suppose we shouldn’t get carried away, but then again, why the hell not? I liked the way Wenger, ever respectful, said “this is a very good Wigan side with some quality and they showed this in first period”. His comment on Arsenal was along the lines of “some misses, yes, but a few players are coming back quite nicely now and this is good to see”.

  39. Boy, it looks awfully cold in England.

  40. The next three are win, and no messing. I suspect the same or very similar team for all three games. How about:

    Sag Kos Djourou Clichy (Gibbs for Fulham?)
    Nasri Wilshere (Rosicky for Fulham?) RvP Song Arsh
    Cham (Bendtner for Fulham?)

  41. ZP

    Chamakh will be starting. I would be very surprised to see Bendtner start when he is clearly not at his best level. Not only that, Chamakh has proved to be the complete striker with an all round game.

    Gibbs hasn’t quite done enough to warrant a starting spot just yet, but its good to have 2 quality LB’s to choose from. I thought he was one of the best players on the pitch last night. Rosicky is one who could be drafted in, he played very well at Villa.

  42. I think these CC games tell us a little about whom AW considers indispensable at the moment – guessing that Fabianski, Sagna, Squillaci, Clichy, Song, Rosicky (in Cesc’s absence), Nasri, Arshavin and Chamakh are automatic picks for the biggest games.

  43. Zim – i’m liking the comical comments of late 🙂

  44. I think Chamakh is a starter too. I’d like to see Gibbs again vs Fulham. The more the merrier i say, he’s been awesome when he’s played. Will give Clichy something to think about, if he isn’t threatened by Gibbs’ emergence already…

  45. California Gooner

    RVP in the hole worked… I could see a very fluid interchange with Arshivin and Nasri as well, should he play there on Saturday, because all three can play each other’s positions pretty perfectly. It could be interesting…

  46. ‘Interesting’ is an understatement, Cali Goon. It would be f*cking spectacular.

  47. In complete agreement with Zimpaul at 12.18pm. Especially on Nasri. He is right in the process of going supernova.

  48. I only saw a few minutes in the 2nd half only, because the stream I had kept on stopping, but what I noticed was how Walcott seemed to be terrorising their left back. His dribbling was working and he was getting around the back. I was impressed.
    It also seems to me that, when he pays, the defending team usually double up on him, which means potential holes elsewhere.

  49. I am not in the least worried about Vela’s play. Without a doubt he placed himself in positions that on a better day would have resulted in at least three goals. He worked hard throughout the game and came back into defensive positions. His play and demeanor are clear that he is hungary and he wants a starting role. And, what about that growth on his chin! Hombre!!

  50. I think hungry will do.

  51. It was bloody freezing last night, coldest I can ever remember it being at the Emirates.

    A decent enough performance, although I found Bendtner a little frustrating, he could learn a thing or 2 about work rate from the more experienced pro Chamakh!

  52. Oh – and Wishere MOM for me….. but it is all about opinions! 😉

  53. Anyone hear It’s Up For Grabs now this week? Apparently some hack for the Sun declared that Wilshere’s been unconvincing this season. Don’t know if it’s part of an attempt to downplay young English talent, but it’s still the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard all season.

    I don’t think we’ve seen a teenager make this kind of impact since Cesc. It’s churlish to say, but I reckon his short passing can be just a little sloppy at times, but that’s almost irrelevant when you consider his age and look at what he offers the team.

  54. Wouldn’t normally bother with rumours but there may be some weight to the news that Luis Suarez may be part of a january part exchange with NB as apparently Ajax board are trying to force the sale but dont want to be left short. Wenger will not hold NB against his will and its a great option for him to be a first team regualr in the CL still.

    Gluttonous and not really logical with all our current lot fighting for places but certainly tempting…

  55. i thought Jack was excellent last night, quietly efficient, and along with Denilson controlled the game nicely.

    If there has been a better English player at his age since Gascoigne, then I don’t remember him.

    Mind you, you did say The Sun didn’t you? You can write on the back of a stamp what the majority of their so called ‘experts’ know about football.

  56. The lineup just shows how highly he rates JW and Denilson, Matt. Looking at all the naturally attacking players in the side, it meant the two CMs had hugely important jobs to do. They never looked in trouble though.

    I’ve found the article. It’s just a big wind-up:

    Sorry for posting it!

  57. Oh come off it Matt, since Gazza!? What about, um, you know, thingy, the other guy, what’s-his-face, aggh man, come on, you know, ah no, surely you remember, played for that other team, no not that one the other one, don’t pretend you don’t know, don’t give me that innocent look, the guy with the great moves, good feet as I recall, made such an impact, barely 12 years old, OK maybe 15 tops, OK then 20-something, definately under 35 though.

  58. I tried and couldn’t think of anyone either. Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler were fantastic as teenagers, but it’s a difficult to make a comparison.

    And ManU’s mid-90s batch all broke through when they were in their twenties.

  59. Scored 2 goals, clean sheet, advanced to the semi’s. Wigan looked rather pathetic but who cares. Good day at the office. A win against Fulham, win against Partizan and at least a draw at Old Trafford and perhaps a little optimism can be allowed to creep back in. RVP back in the mix could be huge going forward. He and Chamakh in some arraingement up front sounds great.

    Vela is only 21. I still think he will be a huge player for us. Very few attacking goal scoring players really hit their stride before age 23 – 24. He will not get a “run of games” this season. Each game is important and we have plenty of more experienced players in front of him. But his time will come. His attitude in training and his patience will be the key.

  60. Limestonegunner

    We seldom have everyone in the squad fit and on form, so perhaps wondering who plays where when that mythical state occurs is more a philosophical question than a practical matter. But it is a big jigsaw puzzle. With Cesc out, though, many more players can take up central or playmaking roles, which obviously suited Arshavin at Villa Park and RvP last night. Chamakh is the line leading or lone striker right now but RvP excelled at that role once he learned to play in the new formation before his injury. He went on a goal scoring spree and we won many games in September and October last season. What serves him and the team best now? Nasri prefers that position but has been sensational on the wings–indeed about to go supernova. I hope he blasts one like his great goal two seasons ago against ManU on this trip to Old Trafford. Rosicky hasn’t scored but is a vital playmaker in Cesc’s absence. So even with Cesc out, where will Chamakh, RvP, Arshavin, and Nasri play? Where would we fit Walcott and Rosicky in?

    I’d say with Cesc away we play Chamakh up front, RvP, Nasri and Arshavin behind with Wilshere and Song in midfield for a 4-2-3-1 formation. This relies on Song and Wilshere being disciplined though about defensive cover. RvP, Nasri and Arshavin can rotate and switch in ways that will drive defenses batty. I think the Villa game was a good example. Let’s try it out at home against Fulham and get RvP on form for the week after at OT. We can tear them to shreds.

  61. Limestonegunner

    I’d never want Suarez in an Arsenal shirt. After what he did to Ghana in the WC and then how he celebrated Gyan’s missed penalty–pretty classless. Then he goes biting someone for a 7 match ban!? No thank you… He would fit nicely over there at Sp*rs.

  62. ZP? Your 12.10. Take a bow my friend.

    YW? Keith Weller? Well I never..

  63. “Very few attacking goal scoring players really hit their stride before age 23 – 24. ”

    I’ve never liked that formula. Looking at the very best players over the last couple of decades, nearly all of them were playing for the first team and shining long before they hit 23.

    Del Piero, Totti, Laudrup, Bergkamp (at Ajax), van Basten, Kluivert, Kanu, Litmanen – off the top of my head.

    That’s not to say that our fringe players won’t make it, just that there’s no graph that you can refer to when it comes to development.

  64. Limestonegunner

    Vela’s assist was from a very, very good cross. It was from distance way over on the wing, came in whipping fast just ahead of the keeper and behind the defense to the back post. Expertly done. He had lots of good chances and played a good game. He needs more games really to progress. The question is why hasn’t he got them? Partly this is due to those ahead of him, like Arshavin and Rosicky who are established and experienced players of quality. But Theo has received many more opportunities. I think the problem is training and attitude. The boss has alluded to this in comments about his maturity and seriousness. If he isn’t getting his chances, it is at least partly due to the kind of attitude that got him into trouble while on international duty with Mexico and the way this has inhibited showing his quality and determination in training. This was his best game so far this season as a starter and with Carling and FA cups ahead, he might get some more games. Unfortunately, we didn’t sew up the CL or he could have started both of the final group games. But to get into those cup games as a starter and possibly break into PL games, he will have to be not only patient but very focused and determined in training.

  65. OOU:

    Good point. However, Lots of good players do follow that formula. Drogba, Torres, Henry. Rooney was good but did not hit his best until last year. This year Nasri looks like the real deal. Even C. Ronaldo was not a regular 1st teamer for a few years. I guess it depends on the player. Some mature earlier. Vela may not be a truly great player but I think he will be more then just a squad player by the time he is 24. Hope so anyway.

  66. OOU,

    Not sure you’re really disproving the 23-24 claim. As you said the very best come through earlier.

    I’d say the best players start to fulfil their potential from 21-24.

    Even Cesc isn’t the finished article yet.

  67. Yep, apologies, I did make a mistake when I wrote that comment. Basically, I wanted to register my distaste with the idea of a set timeline for all players, and make the point that when it comes to the cream, they’re usually shining far before 23.

  68. Maybe I’ll find a way of making this point without contradicting myself!

  69. Agree with Ole.

    You are correct to say that there is no time table that all players follow. I guess my main point is that it is a mistake to right off someone as a bust before they do reach 23 – 24. That said, It is concerning that Vela has not really put himself into a position where he has a realistic chance to play anything other then the odd CC game. I would have hoped he would be a little more advanced by now. I still think he would be best served by a 6 month loan to an EPL team where he will play regularly.

  70. I think you’re right Bill re the loan, but can’t see it happening at this stage of his career. We needed him around the last couple of years due to injuries, but now we may have missed the loan boat…

  71. Tucked up in bed! Yikes beginning to feel yeaterday wasn’t worth it!

  72. Nah on seconds thoughts, I would do it again! Semissssssssssss

  73. Feggerson insists this guy is a footballer:

  74. Are you ill from the chilly Emirates Maria?

  75. A truly stunning strike from an undoubtably awesome player. And what a nice guy too, cheers for that gem Ole!

  76. Walter @ Untold reports that Vermaelan is out till 2011.
    I guess it’s not called the Achilles Ankle for nothing.

    Well, either Wigan weren’t interested, or they were not able to show any interest in scoring. Koscielny & Djourou were good. That’d be an understatement.
    Very cold last night. I can understand why someone felt the need to run onto the pitch and warm themselves up!

  77. Omg we’re on Vela AGAIN?? Some people need ger a life the guy is young, gifted and very cute! That left side of midfield is his for the taking, I do think however that had we kept to our 4-4-2 formation his future wouldn’t be in doubt as much. VIVA ME-XI-COOO!!!

  78. RVP had to bide his time at Arsenal up to his mid to early twenties, kind of, after being DB10’s understudy/apprentice? Is that accurate? I don’t really know.
    He is up there, somewhere, with the ‘best’.

    I think players in certain positions, in the PL, can come through at an earlier age. As a generalisation? Owen? He had unfortunate injuries, was poorly managed on every level, and suffered some kind of burn out combined with the kind of retarded ‘ardman weights programme that Houllier has just forbidden Agbonlahor from pursuing. Maybe they should have done what AW seems to do with his strikers?

  79. Hahahaah! John O’Shea! You absolute mug.

  80. This player development issue has been bothering me for a while, guys. I’m actually going to have a good think about what I want to say on this subject, as well as a little research, before I comment on it again, because I do find it pretty interesting.

    But here are two things that I think I’ve got worked out:

    As a starting point, and regardless of injuries he might have suffered, I’d worry for the future of an Arsenal player if he isn’t getting considerable gametime by around 21-22.

    And it’s off on a tangent, but it seems to me that Cronaldo – who’s late development is usually held up by people who suggest that you shouldn’t give chances to attacking players below the age of 21 – would have become a different kind of player, but no less effective, if AW had signed him.

    As it turned out, we didn’t see him shine until around 06, because ManU chose to emphasise his physical gifts, and I imagine he was on some kind of serious weight training regime, which didn’t bear fruit for three or four years.

    He became a powerhouse, which is what he he is now, but incapable of controlling a game’s tempo (not that it matters when you can do what he does).

    Under Arsenal he’d have shone a couple of years earlier, and would have been an altogether more subtle player, more able to play within a team.

  81. “whose late development”

  82. “RVP had to bide his time at Arsenal up to his mid to early twenties, kind of, after being DB10′s understudy/apprentice?”

    That’s exactly right Finsbury. He had a few ahead of him at the time, some people were saying he wasn’t good enough (a la Vela), but he just needed confidence and game time before we started to see what he’s all about. Being in DB10 & Henry’s shadows is always going to be difficult.

  83. Yeah Geo! Bloody English weather!

  84. But RvP got 40+ games a season from the day he joined until his first big injury in 2007. A lot were probably off the bench, but it’s still a lot of football.

  85. Interesting thoughts OneofUs keep them coming!

  86. lol Maria! Imagine having to play/watch in Newcastle or Stoke (Stoke’s stadium is right on top of a massive hill!). A lot of ill Stoke supporters I expect, but they’ve only got themselves to blame…!

    Wish you well though Maria- being a committed Gooner and all.. 😉

    OOU – i’d guess that the vast majority were off the bench, late in games…

  87. RVP will win us the league

  88. OOU,

    I actually believe football is a game of youth. I see nothing wrong with playing players before the age of 21. I’d encourage it.

    Apart from seeing a great player at his peak when he’s mastered his body, his game and life, the best time to see great talent is when it’s young and uninhibited.

  89. always moderated

  90. About RVP,

    He was a fringe player for 2 years, but afterwards he broke into the team 06/07 when he was 23 or so.

    What’s held Robin back as we all know is injuries and not much else, otherwise he’d have had many many more appearances for Arsenal.

    And he was always scoring great goals and putting in great shifts.

  91. Having DB10 and Henry in front of him was also holding him back Ole. Once he broke in though, his only problem as you say has been injuries.

  92. Ah The Sun … once when I was 17, working as a labourer illegally in a scrap metal yard near Tooting Bec, in winter ’75, my extra chore as the newbie (we were all illegal in some way, badly paid, terribly exploited and some on the run from the cops) was to get everyone’s paper and a bacon roll for tea.

    So I went round the yard taking ‘orders’ and totted it up, and it came – for those who could read – to something like 15 Suns, 3 Mirrors, 4 Express’ and a Telegraph (for the resident “intellectual”) and a couple of ‘Racing Times’ or whatever. As a recent arrival (a month before) I thought I would explore British press, read everything, so my papers on my very first day were a Guardian, a Morning Star and a copy of Anti-Apartheid News (impressed these were actually sold in the newsagent, I snapped them up; to possess either would have been being a serious offence where I had come from).

    Boy was I in shit! I was saved by a long-haired tough-as-nails Irish guy named Declan and his alcoholic Aussie friend Ray as a small group of robust men who had decided to call me “Sunshine”, not in a good way, stood around my paper haul, displeased, and talked of rearranging my various bodily parts and functions. I pleaded ignorance, saying “I don’t even know what these papers are, I just thought I’d get a few different ones and see. Um sorry”. Even so, the boss told me the next time I bring commie shit into the yard he was going to “personally sort me out”. Lots of juicy expletives and an impressively tattooed fist – in my face – underlined his opinions on this matter. Laughter and unpleasant banter all round at my expense.

    So, the Sun it was, safety first, and oh happy days … I left after 7 months in some fear this place of hard men would be my early grave, Declan giving me gentle hints that maybe this is not the best place for me to find illegal work, people “say things behind my back” and the building sites might be better.

    I recall a more than normal quota of QPR and (yep you guessed) Chelsea support amongst co-workers and the boss (Chelsea), and have detested them both since. Perhaps it was not all political after all. My rare Arsenal comments were greeted with the tribute “bunch of @# wankers, like you”.

    “It’d be an idea to keep your peace right now” Declan would whisper to me, his head buried in a copy of Racing Times, he was like me an Arsenal guy.

  93. I wonder for the future if Arsene will consider playing (in a 4231 formation) Cesc and Song as the deep lying midfielders, with RvP/AA/Nasri all sitting behgind Chamakh. It is very attacking, and smacks a little bit of “squeezing everybody in” but it could work.

  94. “Apart from seeing a great player at his peak when he’s mastered his body, his game and life, the best time to see great talent is when it’s young and uninhibited.”

    I think I believe in playing young players – even ahead of older guys who are of the same basic ability – because I know that if you get the balance right and guide them properly, you can use the freedom, enthusiasm and confidence inherent in all the best youngsters to set the tone for a whole team – and with that create something special.

    Ajax in 1995 were the only club side in recent memory that could match the current Barcelona team. That was the beginning of football for me – I went to my first Arsenal match that year.

  95. Limestone, you hit every bit of gossip concerning Carlos Velas with your comment. The fact is that Vela is in the periphery of the first team because he is being kept out by Arshavin and Rosicky. Two very good players whom Arsene Wenger trusts immensely. Whether or not he partied with some hookers, or whatever, and got in trouble with the Mexican NT is completely irrelevant. He’s fit for the first time since arriving here and is making the cameo appearances every youngster makes for Arsenal albeit at 21 instead of at 19. If Wenger wanted to get rid of him he wouldn’t be bringing him in like he has. He would’ve just got rid of him like he did with Bentley, Lupoli, Pennant, Larsson and Muamba.

  96. I think the way RVP was developed was ideal. He was a fringe player behind 2 experienced players on a highly successful team. He got more time and more important roles until he took over as first choice around age 24. In a perfect world the replacement cycle is staggered at the different positions on the pitch. The team does not have to suffer the growing pains of a large number of inexperienced players and the players can learn and develop without pressure such as Theo has had to endure. They take over as first choice when they are mentally and physically ready.

  97. Thanks for the replies on RVP.
    Did a tiny bit of research, and he made his debut at seventeen, winning the KNVB Best Young Talent award at the end of the 2001–02.
    59 apps for Feyenoord with 15 goals before his move to Arsenal, 28 in his last season with Feyenoord.

    I’ve also had some thoughts on player development and age, following on from some interesting posts by Kitchen Sink. As a teaser, I’ll say that older players technique can improve or degenerate at times, but it seems to be most relative to issues of ‘physicality’ and fitness. Houllier’s concerns about Agbonlahor’s training regime are an example of that.
    I wouldn’t expect Theo Walcott who started to play football at an older age to have the same level of inherent skill as R.Baggio (tried finding some of the famous clips of Baggio playing as a toddler. Failed.), but we can still see a development. Good corners!
    AW’s has a famous quote:
    “Give me an athlete, and I’ll give you a footballer”, or something like that.

  98. Good point on Theo. I don’t think he will ever be a technically proficient player. Howver, if he can get to the level where he can make the most of his elecric pace he will still b some player.

  99. My spelling is bad becuase of the sub zero temperatures (and not because I type too quickly) 😉

  100. No, I don’t prefer how RVP model. I’d love kids to get their chance as early as possible and become experienced as early as possible.

    The likes of Messi , Cesc, Ronaldo or Rooney are under 25 and are more experienced than many 30 year olds.

    That way you can expect them to still be at the top in 10 years.

  101. Very interesting to see Theo on so many corners and freekicks this season – considering some of the players he’s sharing a pitch with. He definitely hits a good dead ball. He must be hitting some magic ones in training. Maybe it’s those lessons he got from Becks…

  102. Goonerandy,

    I don’t think Theo’s technique is bad. Sweetly taken corners and free kicks indicate a good technique! His corners could well be better then insanely good Nasri. A little anxious last night, knowing he has to fight for that starting berth? Possibly. But still, he’s developing nicely. Oh yes.
    Considering the number of games, on stats alone he’s been ‘Better Then Bale’ and Lemmon, for example, this season.

  103. Koscielny was outstanding yesterday.
    ‘Novice’? Do me a favour.

  104. Just who was Graham Yates?

  105. Ole – The players you have mentioned are all special players though. The RvP model is a good one as it gives players a soldi base to learn and flourish. Not all players emerge as the likes of Cesc and Messi have done.

    Finsbury – His dead ball technique has improved without question. I am thinking more of when the ball is at his feet. Quite often he stumbles over the ball when trying to accelerate, and rarel looks in complete control of the ball (as say somebody like Nasri). This is not a critisism of him, as you mentioned he started late so is to be expected to a point.

  106. I think YW was bored.

  107. Haha – Muppet perhaps?

  108. Ole @ 4:58:

    That works for insanely good players like Messi, Cesc but for most players it does not. Ronaldo, Rooney, Messi and Cesc for that matter also were able to started playing with a group of very talented more experienced players.

    Sometimes player development has to take a back seat. Bringing in Chamakh may have short circuited NB52 as an Arsenal player but the team had to come first.

  109. I think he was applying the ‘Crazy Frog Principle’. See Talk Sport Radio and Le Grove for further examples.

  110. If it was Muppet then that was a genius, elaborate wind-up.

  111. Bill –

    “Sometimes player development has to take a back seat. Bringing in Chamakh may have short circuited NB52 as an Arsenal player but the team had to come first.”

    This is bang on. I think it is great the way we bring players through the ranks, but we are not a creche. If bringing in player improves the team and is financially prudent for the club, it should happen. If that “kills” a young players career at the club so be it. If the player is good enough he will play well enough when he gets a chance to make himself undroppable.

    Wilshere has done this to a degree. We have shedload of players in central midfield, but his performances have ensured that he is in the first 11.

  112. Goonerandy,

    He only seems to do that when returning from injuries. It’s the fast bowler finding form analogy for me in this case. His technique is definitely better then other orthodox whingers, bar Johnson, who’s older, who went to S.Africa. I’ve never seen him shank a step-over into touch!


  113. What are you blathering about, Bill? His circuit didn’t seem shorted when he scored the goal that put us through to the League Cup semi-final last night, did he? Mug.

  114. Limpar – I think he means he has slipped down the pecking order. And he is right. It is up to Bendtner to get back up it.

  115. The order’s about the same as far as I can see; we sold Eduardo in the summer.

  116. Finsbury – Maybe, hopefully he will pick up from before his injury. He really is a confidnce player, and every time he starts to build it he gets an injury. I don’t think he technique on the ball is that good though. He is at his best running onto balls put behind the defence. He has good movement and finishing, and will score plently in this side if he keeps fit.

  117. Limpar thank you for your post at 11:14 am

    pretty much made my morning as I was taken back to the celebration after attending my first arsenal game. except work was a train to belgium.. but I digress..

  118. OoU – Except Bendtner was playing when Eduardo was on the bench. So I would say he has slipped down.



    Roughly. Either way he is not the nd choice main striker any more. You could throw Theo into that mix as well.

  119. Off home.


  120. On the subject of player development, Ronaldo was already past his best by the time he was 23, his career having been destroyed by injury. Aged 20, he scored 47 goals in 49 games for Barcelona. Aged 21, he scored 34 in 47 games for Inter Milan. He never managed such a high strike-rate again, although his strike rate never fell below 0.5 in any season in which he was fit enough to play a significant number of games.

  121. Graham Yates did sound a lot like Muppet’s or Ateeb’s impersonations of a typical Le Grove poster, but his choice of shit potential signings seemed too recherché.

  122. Pz comparing players with him is a bit unfair as his goal average is 0.69 when you compare that for instance to fake ronaldos 0.4..

  123. Something like a phenomenon.

  124. A very young Zenden involved in a few of those goals – many would say those were his best years. They earned him a transfer to Barcelona, but he wasn’t the same after that.

  125. Fins thats why in brazil they call him el’fenomeno and players like maradona and pele would always have him the their alltime best eleven..

    however the closest thing to that goal scoring record in this generation is lionel messi with 0.6 however he’s still quite young and if seriously unlucky could suffer a similar injury crisis..

  126. Finally arsene listens to us and decide to play a strong team in Carling cup which is what we been barking at him to do so for 5 years. Kos frankly that is only cup thing we can ever win with this team of kid players who are to full of themselves and cant take matches seriously and keep focus and profession for 90 minutes + added time. still think our english players jet and afobe should be playing instead of uselsss vela who has never done anything for us and parties on our money with prostitues and women. I still cant get over the spud defeat, my brother left home and didnt come back. and denilson can go fuck himself backwards and sideways because that is all that crab man does on a pitch. english players would never do that because they are forward all the time in their mind and tackles like wiking man. but wenger send all english players on loan and keep the phoroners and we see song and crab man. we need ramsey back but not if he scared like eduardo becos then he will not do anything and make me scream and break things. i broke my arm and i still use it as b4 when playing xbox why cant these players be like me. rvp is back for 3 days b4 he fucks off to the hospital again. sell him when he is fit in january and buy dzeko or aguerro from france. and we never get good players back on time but fucking eboue who arsene lied was injured for 2 months is fucking back on pitch in a week. i never watched the game when i saw him on tv kos arsene lied to us he was injured but he wasnt and he was fine and being a clown and almost got us killed. plz buy some dm becos song is always leaving his duties behind and attacking. we need someone who dont go more forward than halfway line. please. and sell vela denilson eboue bentener rvp rosiky and buy good players from everywhere else.

  127. this is what should be played at the stadium instead of fatboy slim.

  128. Gooner Andy:
    “Good point on Theo. I don’t think he will ever be a technically proficient player. Howver, if he can get to the level where he can make the most of his elecric pace he will still b some player.”

    I think Theo Walcott is a very technically astute player as it stands right now. That finish against Shaktar Donetsk, where he blazed by their defence and beat the goalkeeper just having barely stepped into the penalty area, is not a skill even some of the best footballers can pull off, mate. I think Theo is judged wrongly by a lot of people because he often fails to dribble his way out of a two or three man press while close to the touchline. There’s another player who doesn’t do that very often yet people blow smoke up his arse like there’s no tomorrow. His name? Cristiano Ronaldo. If you can point to a time where Cristiano Ronaldo has successfuly dribbled his way around a defender, I’m not talking about beating someone for pace, then I’ll gladly concede your point.

  129. according to this Chamakh has played more minutes than basically any other “top” striker in the prem. Only Malouda has more on that list. Says something about our reliance on him.. he’s been huuuuuge!!!

  130. i miss the rosicky of old :(, the future is red and white, what is there not to love about ARSENAL.

  131. LA:
    “Koscielny was outstanding yesterday.
    ‘Novice’? Do me a favour.”

    I still can’t get over that twat calling Koscielny a French novice.

  132. phrench pussycats!!!!!!

  133. Excellent, Ateeb.

    Tragically I just found myself clapping along to that Wild Rover rendition, colneyblog. I do like the barroom sway of The Wild Rover… despite it’s inescapable Scotchness… but we sing it enough during the games.

    I’ve been thinking lately that this one would be appropriate… maybe as the players leave the pitch…

    Friend of mine suggested Beastie Boys – Sabotage to walk out to… which isn’t a bad shout… but I think we could do better.

  134. “I agree Vela has quality – he has scored some brilliant goals for us – but it is exactly that lack of desire and determination (and a yard or two of pace) which make me question his ability to cut it at the club.”

    Tim, do you actually watch Arsenal, or just spout rehashed versions of perceived wisdom? Anyone who thinks Vela lacks pace, will get short-shrift from me because it shows clear evidence of a lack of knowledge and awareness of the qualities of Arsenal players. Whilst not as fast as Theo (who is?), one thing you cannot say that Vela lacks is pace!

  135. @LA
    Sid looks coked up lol

  136. I don’t know how true this is, but my friend who lives in london (also a sp*rs fan) told me that Vela and Giovanni Dos Santos live together and all they do is party. Again i don’t know how true that is.

    One thing that cannot be questioned however, is the lad’s skill.

  137. “My Way” after a hard-fought scrap, “Move On Up” after a slick 3-0.

    Pre-game: Shame he’s a Manc cos there’s a rabble rousing quality to this song (no idea what he’s on about though):

  138. There’s a youtube petition to get the above song chosen.

  139. G69


    “Whether or not he partied with some hookers, or whatever, and got in trouble with the Mexican NT is completely irrelevant.”

    I dont agree with that at all, to me it seems as if Arsene is not only trying to put together talented players but decent individuals. I have no doubt that if Vela has had the wrong attitude it would cause him to be sat down.

    Vela was brilliant last night by the way and I though he was the 2nd fastest player in the team?


  140. Lots of other classic Arsenal songs in the youtube links section.
    Quality may be debated, but,
    thanks be to G*d for the home computer!

  141. Limestonegunner

    Gainsbourg, you’re the one spreading the rumours; all I did was allude to the decision by Mexico to suspend him. Wenger is the one who has suggested he needs to work hard and show more maturity. In my comment I acknowledged that he had two good players ahead of him in Arshavin and Rosicky, which worked to limit his appearances. Nowhere did I suggest Wenger wanted to get rid of Vela, as you impute. You really ought to read more carefully before firing off your accusatory remarks.

  142. Limestonegunner

    Wenger has said that after Theo, Vela is the fastest player in the team.

  143. wasn’t Vela the 2nd fastest at the world cup too?

  144. one thing’s for sure if we sell Vela it would be a huge mistake

  145. Vela is young, the way some of you talk you never did stupid, irresponsible things as a youngster. Arsene understands this about young players and will give them a chance if they are talented. He will not give them chances indefinitely though and ultimately, it’s his decision when/if that point is reached. After all, we have players currently still with us, who should have been sold a long time ago based on these ridiculously high standards that some of you seem to be applying. On the whole, Arsene is quick to release the wasters when it’s appropriate.

  146. I apologize for having a part in starting this discussion over Vela’s personal life. I had no such intentions.

  147. I think the coke was probably the least of his problems, colney.

    OOU, Curtis Mayfield, Primal Scream or M People? I’m going to guess… not M People?

    Finsbury, Billy Joel! I can’t believe I just got Billy Joeled. Thanks a lot.That was horrible. Cruel trap to lay.

  148. seems villa and birmingham are using their first team squads, oh how i wish we were playing one of them this saturday.
    I think Fulham will set out to catch us on a counter.

  149. Passenal, just because one is young is doesnt mean you give them a free pass as far as doing stupid things, they will never learn if thats the case.

    I have no doubt that Arsene will give Vela a chance, the point I am making is that is he behaves irresponsibly and immature as a habit Wenger will give him time to think and grow on the sideline. That can do nothing but help him as a man and as a player anything else is irresponsible.

  150. “if ” he behaves

  151. They play Curtis Mayfield after a lot of home games don’t they?

    M People had an Arsenal connection. Did the singer’s voice aggravate anyone else – it always sounded so fake.

    Primal Scream’s “Movin’ On Up” could be a doomer redemption song.

  152. Do the gooner family care about the WC coming to the U.K? I personally would love it here!!

  153. The only thing that stood between Carlos and a hat-rick yesterday from what I could see was footwear!

  154. when did Wenger become a columnist for yahoo sports?

  155. Well if Carlos is sold hes sold and we get in someone els to fill his boots, if he stays he will do well and we will all love him.

    I have never really seen enough of him to be neither positive or negative about him tbh. But alot of fans thinks he is “the next big thing” so i assume he must be really really good then. However most fans was on a high about Merida too, saying he would be the next Cesc, saying AW was an idiot to ever let him go. He was still not given a big enough contract to stay. And is he dominating in spain yet? It seems we cope rather well without him even though everyone agrees he is a player with big potential that probably would have done good in an arsenal jersey.
    Im sure if they sell Vela to spain or italy or something they will bring in someone to fill his spot that is equal or better. So im not worried at all really…

  156. OOU, please dont dis Curtis Mayfield! He did sing in a falsetto style though! lol

  157. @Finsbury – The news about TV5 has almost had me in tears..we are the most unlucy side EVER with respect to injuuries :’-(

  158. Its my 3 yr wedding anniversay today!!!

  159. Congrats Pauly!!

  160. Can you believe they served those kids that came on the pitch yesterday with life bans? Never thought Arsenal were so heartless!

  161. Congrats on the 3 yr wedding anniversary Paul N. Re Vela, I think you are missing my point – youngsters make mistakes, that is how they learn. The ones who learn continue to develop, those who don’t waste their opportunities. Only AW is in a position to know which category Vela falls into. There is a lot of speculation and what feels to me like a wish to see him fail. I want to see talented players succeed and therefore will not pass judgement when I am not in possession of the full facts.

  162. “Can you believe they served those kids that came on the pitch yesterday with life bans?”

    Fact is Maria, those are the rules. If you break the law, you have to be prepared to face the consequences.

  163. Thanks Maria and Passenal.

    I agree with you Passenal. My comments were not judgmental of Vela in the least, just making a general comment that I believe that talent is not the only thing that Arsene is looking for but is concerned about the players as people.

    If people want Vela to fail, something is wrong with them.

  164. as indivuals sounds better.

  165. damn it, you know what I mean!? lol

  166. They were only kids Pass, should something they did in their teens effect them for life? Seriously, I think that was harsh, they meant no malice by it and it was quite funny at the time!

  167. ipswich up 1 nil with 15min to play. birmingham, villa still tied 1-1 for anyone interested

  168. “If people want Vela to fail, something is wrong with them.”

    I agree 1000% with that!

  169. I’m not necessarily agreeing Maria, but as I saw it happening last night, I knew this would happen because it is very firmly stated everywhere – entering the field of play, regardless of intent is a criminal offence and lifetime bans are the punishment. If it was up to me I might ban them for say – 10 years in the hope that as they mature they could be trusted again. However, I can understand that if the club has a policy they would feel compelled to enforce that to discourage others from following suit.

  170. Thanks for the update colneyblog, I am certainly interested in who our semi-final opponents might be.

  171. Are we seriously discussing Vela’s abilities? We all saw his finishing and what he’s capable of doing…Actually his finishing is better than about %70 of PL players who are much older than him.

    The problem – and as Passenal pointed – is we forget that he’s in a learning phase and not the finished article and Arsene knows that or he would be playing every week.

    You might think his job in any game as a striker or winger is to only score goals or send in cross after cross into the box. But, I think Wenger sometimes sends them into the game with a completely different task…that task may be to provide an assist, or run behind the lines, or beat the offside trap…whatever he wants the player to learn from that game.

    Believe me, when Wenger knows this or that player is not going to cut it…they get shipped off as soon as it’s humanly possible.

    I honestly think Vela had a wonderful game yesterday and he was really unlucky not to score as a reward for this kind of performance. I think his runs behind the back line the two times that RVP sent him in with back heels proves he’s doing something right.

  172. Spot on G4E

  173. Birmingham and Ipswich make up the rest of the semi-final field.

    I hope we draw ipswich away to start.

  174. Brum, Ipswich or the Hammers for the semi final

  175. I would like Ipswich too colneyblog, but I expect it to be the hammers or brum

  176. There is a big chance their Passenal, and although my view of the Tin Cup has not changed, I just want to win it so we can get the “trophy monkeys” of the team’s back and let the team work towards the bigger trophies.

  177. Bloody hell, do we want this WC or not??

  178. I completely agree, Maria. I’m not in favour of lifetime punishments except in the most extreme circumstances. In this case, a year long ban would be plenty. If they do it again, try a five year ban. After that, maybe it would be time to consider a ban of longer duration. There is something seriously wrong with punishments in football. One can deliberately break a player’s leg and get a six match ban. Order your players to cheat in a Champions League match? Try a two match touchline ban, one of which is suspended for three years. If you run across a football pitch, though, you get banned for life. Well, they knew the risks. True. The same argument could be used to defend any degree of rigour in punishment, but I don’t believe the voice of pity should be silenced by such merciless logic.

  179. Limestonegunner

    Isn’t it a random draw? So there is certainly a higher percentage that it would be hammers or brum than that it will be Ipswich. But it is equal chance for any of the three, right?

    I prefer Ipswich, Hammers, Brum. In that order. Who wants to play Birmingham–those games tend to be dire affairs.

  180. Ipswich v Arsenal

  181. Fisrt leg away

    The other one is Brun v W.Ham

  182. First leg away, good draw for us……….
    The other one is Brum v W.Ham

  183. Yaay bring on Keano!!

  184. Limestonegunner, it’s a 1 in 3 chance, but I just have a feeling it will be hammers or brum.

    Poliziano, you could also argue, why say the punishment is a lifetime ban if you then apply varying degrees in practice? The threat of the lifetime ban is designed to prevent a return to the bad old days when ‘pitch invasions’ were commonplace. It has clearly worked on the whole.

  185. If Vela really did what the rumours indicate then I think he needs to be told in no uncertain terms that it never happens again and get some unpublished internal punishment from the club. If it never happens again then so be it. If anything similar happens a 2nd time a long suspension or other significant punishment. 3rd strike and your out. Hopefully he will learn his lesson and behave. Young players often forget how public everything they do will become. They can not get away with the same things some of their mates can do.

  186. Do you think many fans would consider a year long ban a fair price to pay for taking part in a pitch invasion? I doubt it; but if a year’s ban proved to be insufficient deterrent, it would have to be increased. However that may be, I’m sure that something less than a lifetime ban would do the job.

  187. Passenal, you just said above that young people ought to be given some latitude for youthful indiscretions, when it comes to players. How about giving young fans a break too. Make the lifetime ban a possible sentence–judges often have discretion between minimum and maximum sentences to take into account exacerbating or mitigating factors. A lifetime ban is exile from the club one loves; that’s purgatory if not hell. The deterrent effect is still there even if sentencing is discretionary and/or graduated.

  188. Good job I’m not a betting person, I was sure it would be another PL team, but I’ll settle for Ipswich home and away. It’s not that I’m expecting a foregone conclusion given our inconsistent season to date! But if we have to wheel out some of the younger gunners if we get more injuries it gives us the opportunity to still be in with a chance. It’s also interesting to play teams we have not already played. I’m not so keen when we end up playing the same team several times in succession as can sometimes happen when we play a team twice in the PL and then end up drawing them in a cup competition.

  189. limestonegunner, you are missing my point, I never said I agreed with it, but I am just pointing out that the club have not hidden their position on this issue and therefore I can understand why they might choose to enforce it.

  190. Blow wow, Birmingham will have to play in an empty stadium with the amount of fans that went on the pitch.

    I can understand wanting to have a serious deterrant but give me a break, this is way over the top.

    As Pz said, you have thugs on the field fouling with intent to harm and breaking legs and managers ordering nonsense and nothing happens.

    Maybe they can have fances with barbed wire or electricty running through them, that should do the job?

  191. “fences”

  192. Ipswich. We need revenge for Nov 2000.

  193. “Sometimes I feel sad because people say that Arsène Wenger won’t pay for experienced players or old players. If we work together and help each other, and give 100 per cent in training and games as well, we can win this year.”

    You tell them Denilson!

  194. Passenal, I understand your position; give 10 year ban instead. Given your earlier statement about forgiving youthful errors it just seemed rather odd to be defending the club for such a harsh policy and the inflexible implementation of it.

    Dups, how about giving Keane a pasting!? (if he survives as manager…); revenge against West Ham for 1980 (was it?); and Birmingham for breaking Eduardo’s leg (we haven’t really made up for this yet).

  195. Where did Denilson quotes come from? Interesting… would like to read/watch/hear the rest of the interview/article.

  196. Thanks, Paul N.

  197. I realised that some might interpret my comment as defending the club limestonegunner, but that was not my intention. I was just stating reasons why they might feel they need to adopt a harsh line in this case. Personally I thought it was funny, but at the time I was in no doubt about the risk they were taking so I was less surprised than others when the club decided to enforce the rule. It is a risk you take when you break rules and whilst I’m sympathetic to the individual circumstances, I’m also not surprised that the book is being thrown at them, which is why I don’t understand why the club is being criticised. They are enforcing the existing rule, regardless of whether we agree with it or not, they are therefore technically not in the wrong.

  198. Fair enough, Passenal. I do feel bad for them, even though they have no one to blame but themselves for the folly.

  199. So as far as I can see we are the only English team still challenging on all 4 major fronts with a great draw for the semi-final in the Carling Cup? And add to that Chelsea’s continuous problems paired with the crumbling of Manchester United’s Unwinnables — just in time as RVP kicks into full gear to give them their first loss of the season in two weeks time. What a great season to be a Gooner!

  200. Forget about the CC; we have two important games coming up
    1. Let’s tonk Mark Hughes over the weekend
    2. Let’s get really Partizan next week to progress in the CL

  201. As far as expectations go, we 1-1-1 for the season so far.

    1. Premier League:

    We have right around the number of points we could have expected to get at this stage of the season. My actual vs prediction is -1. Excellent away victories at Blackburn, Everton, Man City and Aston Villa have offset home disasters against Newcastle, WBA and Spurs.

    2. Carling Cup:

    Way above expectations. Two resounding victories on the road at Spurs and Newcastle demonstrate how strong our squad has become. None of the other teams can rest their first team without getting turned over by the likes of Newcastle and West Ham.

    3. Champions League:

    Way below expectations. Maybe I’m too harsh here, but we should have qualified as group winners already. We will almost certainly reach the last 16, but the last 2 defeats have been disastrous largely because we will likely face a brutally tough knock out game in the next round.

    Our choices should have been from: Inter (probable), Lyon/Schalke, Valencia, Copenhagen/Rubin Kazan, AS Roma, Marseille, AC Milan.

    Our choices now look like being: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid , Schalke/Lyon, Inter (possible).

    It’s the difference between having an 80% chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals and a 40% chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

  202. For Vela’s current and future progress, compare Walcott, or Song. For young players, it is never a steady upward curve, but a series of steps, horizontal then a jump up in skill and confidence, and onto a new level.

    Walcott seemed to be a little static in terms of development, lunatics moaned “how long”?, then rather suddenly, so it seemed, early season this year showed us something else, and hell this guy has a very good shot, a free-kick even, and fast feet, yep he can dribble through three defenders in the box and pick a shot. It is not consistent, he’s young, but it’s clear where’s he’s heading and is potentially our most exciting forward, I think on the periphery of something great, bigger than we think now.

    Vela may have seemed to be a bit on the horizontal, and may still be. Watch and see. One can’t say when, but Vela will appear to suddenly “hit form”, assuming he is working hard.

    Vela, no doubt at all, has a big future at Arsenal, together with Walcott. A few years down the line, this pair might well emerge as two of the finest to ever play at Arsenal. But it depends.

  203. California Gooner

    ZimPaul, I can’t agree. Walcott seemed ready to eat the league for breakfast this season before turning his ankle. We have seen nothing remotely comparable from Carlos Vela. He was already a Carling Cup superstar 2 seasons ago, but somehow disappeared when put on in PL games. It’s interesting that he and Giovanni Dos Santos both look great for the national team (especially Gio), but have failed to make an impact with their clubs. With Giovanni, I know it is problems with his work ethic/alchohol… with Carlitos, I have no idea. However, with the wealth of options we have up front, Wellington coming in and perhaps JET pushing for first team time, I feel he might have missed his chance.

  204. California Gooner

    ZP, I actually think that first part of you post is correct and elegantly stated… I just don’t see how Vela can get the chances that Song and Walcott have gotten in this team. He may have to go elsewhere. Also, I think the ‘assuming he works hard’ is the part that is hard for us to assess.

  205. Vela is being groomed as a left-footed, left-sided attacking midfielder, not a striker as such. His time will inevitably come. He will start to replace Arshavin’s temporary role there within 2 seasons.

  206. Vela is also being groomed as Van Persie’s new bride.

  207. The argument for not writing Vela off is powerful. He simply hasn’t started many games or played a lot of minutes. He’s an immense talent, who is maybe still too easy about things. He plays with a smile, which is great to see. But sometimes like no maybe he needs to grit his teeth and be determined.
    Is it just me or does he seem to slip an awful lot?

  208. Ole Gunner, some call that diving. Only kidding. By the way I’ve been on holiday for a few weeks, haven’t seen much football, have I missed anything?……any derby’s or anything?

  209. Actually, not a thing James, an uneventful period, except that Arsenal went top briefly, while Berbatov scored 17 times in a single match, a new record. He has a badly strained facial muscle from all the smiling, and is likely out for the next 3 months. Meanwhile Furgie’s Babes made mincemeat, very tasty too.

  210. Oh, and Spurs had an encounter with Liverpool, both sides ran up and down endlessly, and made some pitiful mistakes. I fear for them both.

  211. OG @3:17 yesterday,

    Thanks for the clip. Brought a smile

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