Stone Cold Friday: Unite & Win. Divide & Fall – The Sequel

“Choose your next wittisism wisely, Mr. Bond, it may be your last.” Here’s Darius’ latest letter to the unconverted. Or unconvinced, I’m never quite sure which is most appropriate.

The name is Bond. Darius Bond…

As the resident analyst and spook working for the ‘Anti-Football’ espionage establishment; I hereby file my annual report having been commissioned to carry out a destructive interference programme on Arsenal. For the uninitiated, the establishment runs a dubious committee set up to oversee the capitulation of Arsenal.

The committee sits late every Friday night guided by the silhouette of a hangman and his noose perched above their heads.

To: The Dubious Black-ops Committee Of The Anti-Football Establishment

Since my last report in December last year, we have continued to make great strides with our Arsenal destruction program. Our biggest interference activity was during the summer as we implemented Operation ‘Broke-back Barca’. We may not have succeeded this time, but we managed to recruit the useful idiots in the Spanish and English media that were desperate for anything sensational.

Our inside sources have confirmed to us that they are ready next summer to continue with the subversion to lure the Arsenal captain back to the homeland. We can also continue to count on the stupidity of some of the ‘Broke-back’ players who are desperate to get in front of any camera given the right sort of nudge.

Our continued campaign to spread poison and conspiracy theories about how the team has a “soft and milky” under-belly and how they lack substance is well on target. As you know, achieving this hasn’t been easy – and we have spent considerable resources over the last 5 years ‘encouraging’ media hacks and pundits to spread the misguided narrative that Arsenal will never cut it.

We have also uncannily recruited more moles to pose as influential Arsenal bloggers to pump home our Anti-Arsenal message from within the ranks. It was paramount that we attacked the very strong ground and foundations that the club has invested in – it was critical that no focus was directed towards the hapless plight of rival clubs in the north of England who are buried in unmanageable debt.

This remains an arduous task, especially when the more level headed voices of reason within the Arsenal community actually get their message across that the club is doing very well under the circumstances. Our strategy has to be that of attacking their fickle, spineless, weak glory hunting fans.

This undoubtedly is a small vocal minority, but combined with our allies in the media and pundit circles, we continue to plough the message of how the team is crap. We have actually succeeded in making everyone believe that Arsenal has the worst defence of the top flight teams. It doesn’t matter that this isn’t factual, the idea is to grab something, and run with it.

Look at their home form for example. The team are actually scared of playing at home, a clear indicator that our strategy is bearing fruit. All the ‘useful idiots’ we’ve planted in the crowd have developed the fine art of moaning and bitching, and they have believed the narrative to the point where they don’t even know how to support any more.

Another area of slow progress in our interference strategy is the continued attack on their goal keeping situation. We were doing well up until they installed a Polish chap as their number one. Truth be told, we’re having difficulty with this one. The Arsenal keeper is actually the most in-form keeper in the Premier league as I write this report, but luckily, their fans are to fickle to even bother looking at the ‘Lazarian-esque’ resurrection that this young man has had in goal.

They have been brainwashed so much in believing that they only have useless keepers, and we have to focus on this angle to keep the masses believing and talking about this, especially with the transfer window coming up in a couple of weeks.

We must continue to encourage this group of fair-weather plastic fans to unleash the customary venomous tirade as they spit fire and brimstone on the internet and airwaves. The voices of reason of the realistic and level minded supporters will soon be drowned out if we maintain the current pace of interference.

The main concern however is the momentum that the team continues to build. So far, we have been successful with our mission for the simple reason that majority of the Arsenal fans focusing on the moaning and complaining have failed to see how far this team has got. Our worst nightmare is that the supporters as a collective actually get behind the team and support them through thick and thin.

We must make them believe that being top of the table is simply a fluke conspired into reality by the weather. We must make them think that being in 4 competitions with a chance of winning each of them by this time of the season shows a team that is desperate of winning anything even the tin cup.

We must spread the message that the tin cup is only for the losers who can’t hack the ‘grown-up’ tournaments, despite the fact that Chelsea and Man United have always fielded their strongest teams to win this competition.

We must insist that the only reason that Arsenal are doing well as compared to other title rivals is that others are going through a ‘blip’ while Arsenal is just not good enough when they show any signs of weakness. Our friends in the media continue to effectively spread the message that they are weak and useless, that there is no place for beautiful football in the game as we want it.

In conclusion, let me remind you all of the cost of letting Arsenal succeed in anything. They’re perhaps one of the world’s best run sporting businesses, and their success is a direct counter argument to how the establishment has been doing things for decades now. They threaten to shame the establishment into accepting that there is an alternative way, and they threaten to impose themselves for decades to come as the dominant force in European football.

We cannot let that happen, and our most effective strategy is continuing with this interference program. We must stop their supporters from uniting behind the team at all costs.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on December 10, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 176 Comments.

  1. Almunia is leaving in january.Its a great day

  2. Nice one Darius!
    They can try but at the end of the season I hope there will be a lot of humble pie being eaten. I am ready to send it to that c*nt Evra after he continued his obsession with Arsenal. He should have a good look at himself or maybe he is still looking for the traitor from the WC

  3. Gunnerluc.

    Nani has confessed that Manure are shit scared of Arsenal as the only team that can challenge them to the title. Ferguson isn’t stupid and he knows that he’s damn lucky to be 2nd and that Arsenal are a force to reckon with this season.

  4. DS

    If we will the title we will shut the critics up but until then we have to take the criticism full on.Its no good talking about how well run we are unless it is reflected in the trophy room.5 years is too long for one of the top 8 teams in Europe to go without winning a major trophy.We still need to strengthen in the positions we are still weak in GK,CB and DM.Wasnt that the reason we moved to the Emirates to compete in the transfer market.Buy 3 players in january and we will piss the league if not another collapse like 08 and last season may happen again

  5. So does you leaking this counter-intel to us make you a double agent, D?

    This chap knows:

  6. Great article Darius!

    It’s good to know the campaign is continuing and the Arsenal will be battered to their very foundations by the beautiful english media. Myself, i’m a firm believer in spending as much money as possible on players that were quite good once on football manager and shit, we should probably buy all the best ‘ard men defenders and have 3 world class ‘ard men defensive midfielders, a £30 mil goalie and a whole new physio team. Men against boys all day long. Bish bash bosh. Bollocks to debt, we’ve got government/royalty/mafia/oil barron funding so all’s good…

    Shit sorry guys, an evil Real Manchavelona FC devil must’ve gained control of my fingers for a minute… My bad.

  7. I think we can look to the Andy’s of this world to be the proof of Darius’ pudding.

    Still think we should drop Pieterson Darius?

  8. Ok, slow down, nobody is scared of nobody. it’s only football.

  9. Gunner From Nigeria

    Truth be told, i am amazed at the dissatisfaction being shown by some supporters. Yes, we are not a finished article as a team but, we are in the process of achieving zenith. That is why there is always room for improvement in any venture.
    What do these unsatisfied supporters want?
    Everything Arsenal does attracts criticism and most are largely unfair. Its strange.

  10. Andy – being the best run club has been a massive process which we are only just beginning to see the rewards for. Personally, i’m not too fussed about trophies at the moment, as i know we’re on the way to proving Wenger’s philosophy was right all along. The trophies will come. I just hope it’s while Wenger is still here so he can taste some of that juicy fruit that’s beginning to ripen. Any manager who comes in after Wenger is going to have some inheritance…

  11. Good read Darius, not sure about Chelsea and United putting out full teams in the CC though. Maybe from the semis onwards, you could argue..

  12. I remember in Championship Manager when you had a work permit application denied, all you’d do was click ‘Appeal’ and half a second later the panel had u-turned apologetically, rubber-stamped the paperwork, taught him a bit of English and chauffeured the player round for you in time for morning training. Hope Arsene’s remembered to click ‘Appeal’ on little Welly.

  13. lol Limpar. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be overturned… Denilson and Song were allowed them for being ‘exceptional talents’, and from what i’ve seen, Silva’s looking more impressive (than Song at that age particularly). So fingers crossed…

  14. Please don’t get Andy and me (goonerandy) mixed up. I am a glass half full type of bloke.

  15. LOL Consols – I must confess, Pieterson has done gone and screwed me with that double century. The damn punk. I suppose Arshavin is our Pieterson.

    @Limpar, with all the focus on Assange, I think Commander D can get away with murder.

    @DSQD – the Chavs and Mancs have traditionally played strong teams in the CC cup.

  16. I love Patrice Evra. Probably my most loved player in the whole wide world.

  17. Great post Darius. It’s all about the Arsenal model. Probably the best run football team in the world, though the Germans wouldn’t necessarily agree. Greatness from patience, where we are now, or from buying big, where the more impatient gooners want to be. That is the question? The more impatient may point at Bayern Munchen who have a balance sheet that is prettier than ours and yet dole out the odd million to buy big.

  18. Watch out for excessively accommodating Swedish conference organisers, Commander D.

    Drop Pieterson?! Have you seen his bowling economy?

  19. LOL Limpar – wouldn’t it be funny comparing Pieterson’s bowling with Arshavin’s defence. Both of them have a ruthless offensive streak when they decide to….

    But I’m disappointed with the Aussies – they look a beaten team 2 games in. What kind of series is that. They’ve just done a Blackburn about to be beaten 7-1.

    As for the swedish organizers, nothing there that Miss MoneyPenny can’t handle.

  20. one word…….BEAUTIFUL!

  21. Who do we reckon will be the next Newcastle manager then?

  22. Henristic, thanks for the link. The fellow makes good sense!

  23. That Tottenham Brazilian Sandra got turned down for his work permit for being an exceptionly poor talent but he paid them off after advise in how to bribe and get away with it from Redknapp.

  24. Pardew will not last there. I cannot believe that they have given him a 5 year contract. I can’t stand him either.

  25. i hope arsenal players ignore Evra’s childish mind games and do their talking with resutls on the pitch!

    All those needs of showing Man U and all that ‘cos of his statements may be distractions!

    They are scared no doubt and winnig their will take us 4 point clear and affect their Goal diff! They are by no means guaranteed of 3 points from black pool

    A nice 3 -0 should sort out the goal diff side as well as the points

  26. ON the issue of work permits, the dubious panel that sits to decide who is good enough for English football is probably more dodgy than any FIFA committee.

    David Pleat, a former Sp*ds manager who resigned after being caught kerb crawling (references here please – or correction) for some horizontal refreshments is on that panel. I wouldn’t be surprised if he put Sandro through. That’s what yu get if you put a Sp*d there.

  27. Vela had to spend almost two season in Spain because of the work permit problem and only got it because he was a regular feature in the Mexican national squad. Let’s hope the Brazil coach starts playing welington often so he can come and train with us as soon as possible.

  28. Should we beat the Mancs on Monday, how will the media react? Will they give due praise to us or will it be one of excuses for the Mancs? Personally I believe they will look at making excuses for the Mancs.

  29. The Dutch fitness guy might be right, and all other fitness coaches wrong, I don’t know. What he is clearly wrong about is Van Persie. Most of his injuries have not been muscle injuries. He’s damaged ligaments and had fractures. When he has muscle injuries they don’t keep him out long

  30. Cheers for the link Henristic. Very interesting stuff… sounds like he knows what he’s talking about and the results he mentions prove that. Hopefully people will take note. No matter who the player is, how much of a bastard I may think they are, there’s nothing worse than having to quit, or even be on the sidelines for a long time, due to injuries. Poor Keiran, Diaby, RvP, Ashton, Hargreaves etc etc. How people can slate them for being ‘injury prone’ i dont know. It must be so gutting.

  31. Ole – are you saying that you can’t get ligament injuries without it being from a bad tackle? The fatigue thing he mentions is a huge factor in all of it, even the bad tackles, i.e. when you’re not going in with the knee/ankle or whatever fully braced for the impact. I think he speaks a lot of sense.

  32. .con saying he will go out on loan. We will not see him for a few years then.

  33. When Viera scored the above goal, in AW’s first title winning season, you could feel the whole crowd in the stadium believing at that moment that the team before them could/would go on and win that league. Tingles down the spine, the works. That game was in the second half of the season, no one was convinced before then.
    Had some idiot whinging the whole game long somewhere behind us.

    Chiellini’s kick (unintentional?) occurred in an International game, right? Whilst playing for Holland, Netherlands, the Oranje lot.
    Or am I just confused? Or gullible?
    Because it seemed like RVP was then rushed off to play in a WC, having barely recovered and played hardly any games, for Holland, Netherlands, the Oranje lot. I’d have thought an expert in fitness and conditioning would’ve been able to notice that sequence over 09/10 for RVP. Twat.

  34. What do you expect from a article, Ole?

    No wonder Henristic is such a miserable guy.

  35. I mean the writer of the the article is an idiot. No idea what the original quotes/interview would’ve been. Goal doesn’t have a good track record with the google translator.

  36. Ole Gunner | December 10, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
    “What he is clearly wrong about is Van Persie. Most of his injuries have not been muscle injuries. He’s damaged ligaments and had fractures ”

    I imagine by mentioning muscle injuries, he might also mean ligaments?

  37. Ah, I see Geo’s made my point for me

  38. I have to say the guy does sound like trying to promote himself and his methods, so I suppose its reasonable to be skeptical of his claims. He does make sense though.

  39. It may have been lost in translation somewhat Finsbury, but what he’s talking about seems logical to me…

    I’ve been saying for a while that i think the modern athletes (in almost all sports) are generally pushed far too close to their bodies’ limits. It obviously means that they are super fit, but surely they’re also on the brink of becoming super fucked by major ligaments, muscles or whatever being stretched too far, to breaking point.

    Do you think what he says about Man City is coincidence?

  40. Other than for obvious first language reasons, I’d much rather Wellington went to Portugal. Looking back, loans to Spain have had a habit of going a bit sour for our young’uns.

    That’s unless he goes to Nastic. I might even get to see him now and then there!

  41. And yeah, he blatantly is trying to promote himself, but it doesn’t mean he’s talking nonsense.

  42. Geo, Henristic,

    But ligament injuries are usually impact injuries. At least that’s been the case in RVP’s case. I can imagine that factors can be combined….i.e that fatigue or stress makes a player vulnerable to an impact injury.

    But RVP hasn’t played a lot of games so it’s hard to argue he’s been fatigued and that’s leading to long layoffs almost every season.

    Who knows, he may be right. He’s an expert, I’m not. But he probably knows about RVP’s injury history vaguely, or at least with less intimacy than we do.

  43. Maybe the Dutch guy was talking about ligament injuries in which nobody else was involved.

    Whereas RvP took a big knock for both if his recent ones. Not sure you can legislate for impact injuries in matches.

  44. F ucking FA. they must be scared we are going to win it. how old were the mancs brazilian twins when they came over to manure?

  45. I hate Riley.that vid from the previous post brought back very bad memories and why i hate manure so much.

  46. Fair enough Ole, they are usually impact injuries, and RvP has been so unlucky with those… Our coaching/physio work probably does vary from player to player, injury history, physique etc being taken into account, but as you say, we’re not the experts… Don’t you think the rest of what he was saying makes sense though?

  47. Ligament injuries are normally impact injuries as Ole says. Not nessasrily from direct impact i.e. studs. More from a twist caused by a tackle or a bad landing. I snapped my ACL from such an injury.

  48. I’ve done my knee ligaments from simply turning too quickly when sprinting at high speed, no impact at all. But generally they are from impact. Didn’t snapanything though! Must have been savaged for a while goonerandy??

  49. Ole,
    Thanks for the link.
    What do you mean by short term? 2-3 weeks?

  50. Henristic,

    Yes, 2-3 weeks. The problem we’ve had with Van Persie, that teams have had with Robben is long lay offs of several months every season.

  51. Geo – Yeah I was. Reconstruction surgery, and then out for the best part of a year.

  52. You know what I smell?


    Let’s not trying and use such at article to have mild digs at our club with. That article’s meant to apply to the league as a whole not just Arsenal. I’m sure he knows too little about Arsenal’s training methods to comment upon accurately.

    If he’s saying we play too many games , then yes, he would be correct. We’ve have mild calls for a Winter break for sometime and perhaps those voices should be listened to.

  53. I’m sorry about my poor grammar. I was stuck in traffic way too late last night

  54. Bloody hell… Unlucky mate. at least you got surgery, do you still get problems with it?

  55. Who’s digging at Arsenal Gadget?

  56. ” Myself | December 10, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
    If he’s saying we play too many games , then yes, he would be correct. We’ve have mild calls for a Winter break for sometime and perhaps those voices should be listened to.”

    Except he’s not saying that at all, daft mong!

  57. Implicationary diggs.

    Of course the thing with implications is that it’s all down to observer bias.

  58. What are you trying to imply? 😉

  59. Raymond Verhiejen makes a great deal of sense to me as well. Are our players in the Premiership playing too many games without enough rest in between performances? But, I might have said to Mr. Verhiejen that he has a national coach who did not have any interest in allowing van Persie any rest when he was recovering from injury. As well, at least on one occasion van Persie was injured while playing for his country, not Arsenal.

  60. Geo – No not really, it aches a bit if I give it some hammer but that is all. When I started playing againI suffeed various muscle pulls (groing/hamstring/calf) though. Due to my body compensating for my knee whilst I was not using it apparently, and is quite common.

    The op itself is very clever. They use one of your hamstrings to recreate the ACL. In theory my knee is now stronger than before my injury as hamstring is tougher than the ACL.

    Or I am getting old 🙂

  61. I see conspiracies.


  62. Our injury situation has changed for the better. While we still have more injuries than most teams, we are yet to be completely ravaged as we were multiple times last season.

    While Chelsea were moaning about how much injuries and absences cost them, we actually had more absences.

    We’re yet to get constant service from our two ‘best’ players this season.

    I’ve always maintained it’ not injuries that have cost us but being completely ravaged in one area or the other, with multiple long absences

  63. Hmmm interesting stuff goonerandy. It’s amazing what they can do these days. I wish i’d had surgery on mine – admittedly not as bad as yours, but if it had been nipped in the bud, i would have suffered far less in the long run. the knee hurts if i sit crossed legged for a while, let alone rigourous excercise and my thumb gets knocked all the time, even hurts turning a key sometimes!

  64. GA, so they re-built you? Better than you were before?

  65. “I’ve always maintained it’ not injuries that have cost us but being completely ravaged in one area or the other, with multiple long absences”

    I agree Ole. And although this year’s been better, we’ve been without Cesc & RvP for most of it, and without our best defender for all but one game… If that’s not the spine being ripped out of our team, i don’t know what is!?

  66. Geo – Ouch

    Gadget – Indeed they did. I am not sure to your 2nd question though.

  67. Have you seen Star Wars Gadget? Doesn’t always turn out so rosey…

  68. We should hire that dutch guy.

  69. Goonerrandy
    My girlfriend torned her anterior cruciate ligament and they replaced it by a piece of the patellar tendon. Those surgeon are quite inventive!

  70. Other than outscoring them, what will be the keys to beating United?

    I imagine their game plan will be the same as it’s been for a while, so being wise and efficient in possession is what I think we should focus on.

    When we have numbers behind the ball, we’re pretty difficult to break down. Nani’s developing quite nicely and Berbatov does provide an efficient box threat, so if we keep those two quiet, we ‘ll be on our way.

  71. There was another article about Verheijen on the bbc website a few days ago, you can read it here:

    I agree with Henristic when he says that it seems like he’s trying to tout himself around but, to my incredibly uninformed ears, what he says seems to make sense.

  72. Geo December @ 1:44 pm

    I think Two Owls expressed what I was trying t say in a much more articulate way! I was thinking of the fiasco of RVP’s misdiagnosis last season. By the Dutch physio crew. Inexcusable, unprofessional, a shambles. Hard to take anything they have to say with any credibility. South Korean footballers are famously fit, but I do not believe that’s down to one individual.

    I do agree, the PL is very intense, and the demands on the athletes is almost excessive. I think that’s one reason why Arsenal have been building such a big squad. And, at a guess, this may also help explain why players in certain positions (CM & FB) seem to be put into the first team at a younger age then others (CB & CF).

    I was thinking of Ronaldo the Great and comparing him to other, maybe lesser, greats, who had longer careers, that were also Great. He did suffer a kind of burn out. And possibly, you could argue, was way too bulky, too young. Wrong regime? Maybe he just liked his burgers? He was very unlucky with injuries.
    Anyway, the Brazilian medical team did him no favours. None at all.
    I don’t see international football federations having much credibility in this area.

  73. Was making a reference to the Six Million Dollar Man GA! Blasphemer!

    I say thee nay Geo. In both instances of rebuilding, the rebuilt characters manned-up and grew huge pair of cojones! Seriously, that saga was a flawless argument in how to deal with whiny pussbags

  74. MAnIOU predicted team?



    And their D-Fence.

  75. I think Giggs and Scholes will start in place of Park & Anderson. However, it’d be interesting if they didn’t

  76. Finsbury – I see, i probably didn’t read your post properly, i’m meant to be working you see…! That was ridiculous, and you’d have thought (with him being the expert and all) that they’d bring RvP back into it slowly. But maybe the Dutch just wanted the best possible team and rushed him back. If RvP had been passed to at all during the tounrament, they may have even won the damn thing! Seriously though, i know what you and Ole are saying. It would be interesting to test his theories out though across the board to see the results…

    And The Real Ronaldo definitely suffered as a result of too much….’pie’ i think is the technical term.. Is it me or do the brazillian players have a habit of getting to a certain level, then munching their way into lardiness?? Look at Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Adriano etc etc…

  77. He tends to play his high-energy midfielders against us, doesn’t he. I imagine Park’s horrible to play against, and I reckon he’ll start. That f*cker just doesn’t stop. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Anderson either.

    I’ve got a bad habit of not checking facts to support my claims, but am I right in thinking that Park’s been their key player against us in recent matches? At least from an off-the-ball, tactical view.

  78. Speaking of Ronaldo, I saw the best video of him recently. Let me find it.

  79. OOU – he plays Park against all the tougher opponents. Pretty much always when they’re away from home. As you say, he’s the kind of player that just keeps going, always closing down and working hard.

  80. South Korea were my sweepstake team during the 2006 WC, and I’ve had a bit of a guardianship of the South Korea players ever since (plus PES 3, Master league, cheap and good quality players, Ahn Jung-Hwan all the way!). Needless to say J. SPark is the one of the few Man U players who I’d gladly have at Arsenal. I’d take the two Jackson clones too.

    I think Wilshere should and probably will start this game, I just have a good feeling about this game for him. That obviously means he won’t, so Shaolin Denny will get the nod. Him and Rosicky will be dominating the mid field with their triangles

  81. I didn’t know that, Geo. Thought it was just us that had to put up with him.

    Well, he’s definitely going to need his running boots on Monday.

    And what is the deal with the music restrictions on youtube? Do record labels want to be hated? Also you can see that Ronaldo was, in fact, a very ineffectual player…

  82. I am not sure they’ll play 2 strikers. Rooney up front & Park as the 5th midfielder. I sense a sending off or two in a highly intense midfield battle.

    @Gadget, all we have to be careful about is their counter acttacks. That’s what undoes us every single time we’ve played a big opposition.
    Denilson(or Jack) & Song need to cover each other up.

  83. fins ronaldo suffered injuries at a more consistant level than rvp.. He was of a much smaller build and lightning fast when he was younger but they figured if he gained some more mass he would be less injury prone that lead to his second spell of form in madrid but then the injuries begun again and madrid decided it was too much sold him to Milan where he started well but once again heard a big bang from his knees and from there his european and international career recieved its final nail in the coffin..

    agbonglahor seems to have lost alot of his pace in efforts to gain more muscle mass..

  84. @Gadget – completely agree with your last one

  85. I’d prefer the spectacle of Giggs &/or Scholes (maybe not Scholes…) starting the game. But bearing in mind the ‘tactics’ of Slur Fergus’ acolytes, young Mr.Ooooze & Biggus Sammus, it might be Anderson and Fletcher.

  86. Darius:

    Interesting article. Hopefully we can win a trophy or 2 this year and most of the negativity will stop. Over here teams like the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, etc suffer through the same fan and media anxiety when they go more then 1 – 2 years without silverware. Chelsea fans are booing during this run of bad form despite all of the teams recent success. If we had mid table talent and were chronically a mid table team then no one would have these expectations and none of this would be happening. The idea that fans should not have any negative opinions is something I have never heard in my years of following sports. The good fan vs. bad fan, AAA vs AKB that we promote here and is promoted by other sites in the Arsenal blogoshere is also unique in my experience and I doubt that it brings anything positive to the cause. That said perhaps the sports culture here in the US is different. I guess to each their own.

    Hope Almunia can find another team. I was surprised when the boss replaced him after 1 bad game. Fabianski certainly has won the spot as #1 with his performances and Wookash and Sczezeny give us the best chance to win going forward I think. Certainly can not see any reason to look for another GK at this point.

    Can not wait to see who the boss picks for the Manc game. RVP, Chamakh or both. Good arguments for any of those possibilities. Wilshere or. Denilson, I hope he goes with Denilson. If Andrey is not on form I hope Theo comes in at 1/2 time and not wait for 65 minutes. I am a big fan of the Kos but I think Johan offers the better form right now.

  87. Evra has made AW’s team talk easy.

  88. I agree with Gadget and MJ.

    I’m more confident going into a match at Old Trafford than i have been in years. For the first time in a long time, we’ve got a nearly full strength team, which they’ve never had the privilege to come up against. They’d be foolish not to be as worried as Nani is. Evra is a joke, only making himself look like more of a twat, every time, without fail.

    Bill – i’d prefer Djourou in there too. He’s really come into form recently, showing us what we’ve been missing out on while he recouperated…

  89. yeah its definately 5 mid fielders for fergus against us, he’s shown consistantly in the recent past that he knows man for man our midfielders are superior so he likes to have as many in there as possible..

  90. Article headlines make me laugh…

    Independent: ‘Wenger hits back over Evra comments’
    ESPN: ‘Wenger refuses to rise to Evra bait’

    Which is it??? The suspense is killing me!!!
    *clickity click*
    *clickety click*

    Oh I see….

  91. What are you talking about Geo, DJ IS going to start!

  92. Sorry MJ, i didnt mean “prefer” as in ‘as opposed to the selection’, i meant in general at the moment. should have been clearer…

  93. Bill,

    While I agree with your last two paragraphs your first one bugs me slightly.

    I have no problem with constructive criticism, but negative opinions are a different beast entirely. These are generally without justification, and as we’ve seen recently, a litle hypocritical. Why should we suffer these peacefully when they offend me so? While silence is so often taken for compliance, why should we not chasten fools and their utterings?

    After the Wigan game last season, the comment on this site were ‘negative’ full of disappointment and anger and justifiably so. And these weren’t uttered by the doomers, but by the good regulars here. Justifiable comments.

    We’re winning without it being beautiful. A trait of champions, something we apparently weren’t capable of, and yet doomers still complain… unjustifiable, especially when we know playing poorly is not our usual MO. It all smacks of bashing fo the sake of it.

  94. “He gave you [reporters] some good stuff to make it all hot before the game,” said Wenger. “But we are guided by the way we want to play football and not by the statements of anybody who plays against us.

    “Personally, I believe if you are a big player you always respect your opponent and that is what we try to do.

    “I leave that judgement to you [whether Evra has been disrespectful]. We do not want to go into any unnecessary talking before a game like that.

    “We want to focus on the way we want to play and ignore any provocation before a game. We are motivated by the desire to win the game and by the quality of the football we want to play.”

    The most dignified person I have ever known. How are we ever going to replace this man??

  95. Tell me about it MJ. So many others would have jumped at the chance to ‘hit back’. Wenger = legend.

  96. O! The dignity of it all! *swoon*

    3-1 to the Arsenal. We score. They Score. We score again. Then later on, we score again. BOOM.

  97. J sing in the park and john oh fukin shea are gearing up for their best games of the season on monday.

  98. I want theo to start & fuck Evra from behind for 90 straight mins..

  99. But that’s just me, Le Professor knows exactly what role each player has & who’s gonna start.
    Having said that, defence is my major & only concern.

  100. I think that’s a very real option, mj. (not neccessarily the daylight buggery… but the start)

    – – – – – – RVP – – – – – – – –
    Arshavin Nasri Walcott
    – – – Denilson Song
    Clichy Kos Squills Sagna
    – – – – – Fabianski

    But equally variations with Chamakh or Rosicky are just as likely and just as exciting…

  101. Evra talking after his captains performance at the world cup is just comical.

    Bill – how you doing my good mate?

  102. Look’s good Limps, its just that I wouldn’t want to see both Theo & Arshavin to start in an away game of such magnitude.
    Djourou MUST start, but not sure at the cost of whom..

  103. There I was thinking that ManIOU might come out to play, but, yeah, five in midfield will be the plan.

    Much more interesting to think about Arsenal’s team.
    A three of Arshavin, Nasri & Walcott?
    I hope they play a stiff and creaky Ferdinand in the freezing cold on Monday night!

  104. This is a great post. I love soccer game. Actually im a retired player from australia..5 stars for you..

  105. Theo and Jack to play against manutd. As English men they’ll have that extra desire to beat the reds.

  106. That would be a massive statement of attack, attack, attack, wouldn’t it, mj? I like it as Theo pushing their left side back puts us immediately on the front foot and we know how RVP loves slipping that pass through the defence for Theo to run on to….

    …but perhaps it’s just the Friday fever talking here and a more sensible:

    – – – – – – – RVP – – – – –
    Arshavin – – – – Nasri
    – – – – – – – Rosicky
    – – Denilson – Song
    Clichy Kos Squils Sagna
    – – – – – – Fabianski

    …might be more appropriate to play the tic-toc patient game and tire em all out.

  107. thats true kenyan gunner the rest of those foreigners will only have desire.. jack and theo will have the “extra” thats required..

  108. Finsbury.

    It’s stissue for Red nose to give us Park, Fletcher and anderson with Nani and Scholes for good measure.

    I’d like to see a front line of Arshavin, Chamakh and Van Persie interchanging and confusing the hell out of Evra and his rent boys.

    I’m not that excited about Cesc being pushed to start at the cost of aggrevating his injury – Nasri and/or Rosicky can play make with Denilson and Song moving play along. It will be interesting though to see if LI’l Jack will get the nod over Denilson – though Wenger is likely to use Denilson if we need to play possession football.

    Defensively, I think both Djourou and Koscielny are suited for this type of game, though I think Squallaci is a shoe-in and one of JD or LK has to give way.

  109. Alternative Arsenal team, just for fun:

    Clichy Kos Djourou Sagna
    – – – –Fabianski

    The full history of Chel$ki Abramograd F.C.$ki_Abramograd_F.C.

  110. **standard issue – not stissue – LOL **

  111. Actually, I would prefer a fully fresh Theo over AA, but considering manager’s recent comments, I doubt he’s gonna drop Andre ‘the miracle moment’ Arshavin..

  112. LA, I think Djourou will be healthy and played well last weekend against Fulham. I would start him and pair him with either of the other two–perhaps Kos since speed will help against Nani, Park, and Rooney.

    In midfield, I don’t think the combo of Denilson and Song works as well as Wilshere and Song. Jack hasn’t been quite on the same form since returning from his suspension for the red card, but he is speedy, technical, and very tough. I think that will be important in matching up with Fletcher and Anderson et. al.

    You’ve convinced me about starting RvP, Walcott has made his own compelling argument and Nasri his for a central role. We have to hope Arshavin is really up for it and brings his brilliant best. He usually makes up for a low energy game with a more energetic display, I feel.

    Very hard to wait. Evra’s comments make me so eager to see us put them down like the mangy curs they are, break this miserable unbeaten streak they have been allowed to stumble into, and show our quality in a big game. Monday is way too long to wait for this. I had marked this game over a month ago as a real opportunity for this side and December is full of possibility and risk–very exciting. We can cement our position at the top or give ourselves a lot of work to do in a gruelling January fixture pile up.

    What do folks think of Nasri’s response to Evra? I think it shows he is taking on more and more leadership responsibility. He’s got some fire about him that’s smoldering right now and might burst into a fantastic inferno that torches their defense.

  113. The young WiZarD

  114. Great post Darius. I wasnt sure when i started reading if that would be the entire post and i was glad to see you gave the idea its due!

    Weird not to have a match at the weekend..

    It will be nice to have something tangible to look forward to on a Monday.. but can you guys shed some light on why Monday matches are played? Is it to put it in “prime time” as we say in good old U S of A?

  115. “Very hard to wait.” – you can say that again. “…mangy curs…” – you can say that again too!

    Yes two of Djourou/Kos/Squills is very hard to choose. Somehow I still have the latter two just ahead… I guess because AW has gone for that when all are fit. Equally Wilshere and Denilson… I have no idea which way that one will go. Denilson’s quality performances at OT in recent seasons has me picking him. Maybe Wilshere’s energy and urgency might be held back as a game changing option from the bench – if urgency, or a change of tempo is required?

    I think AA23 is undroppable after Villa and Fulham. Patizan he wasn’t great (though he did play a couple of pretty incredible first time through balls). I see him bouncing back in a big way at OT… making up for some of those misses in the reverse fixture last season. Would be just like Arshavin to use the game prior to Utd as an energy conserving stroll before bursting into firey life on Monday.

  116. we are going to do to them what we did to money city.

  117. NJG – Monday night football is all about money and TV.

    Nasri is slowly being recognized as the best player in the EPL so far this season – even the usual suspects in some quarters in the media have him shading the Welsh poster boy.

    Rest assured that Ferguson will give specific instructions for Nasri to be Police marked and suffocated. This is why it’s important for Arshavin and RVP to have the game of their lives.

    The good thing about also having Theo available is that it won’t matter whether he plays well or not – his pace is going to scare the living daylights out of the Manure defense. They can’t afford to take the chance that Theo will not deliver.

    If you watch the video of Nasri’s second goal against the Mancs 2 years ago at the Emirates, you can clearly see Walcott dragging both Vidic and Ferdinand out of position with his run, and then Cesc slyly shifts the ball onto Nasri on the left instead of going for Theo’s run. And with one dummy and Gary Neville looking like a patsy – the ball was in the back of the net.

  118. … of course ‘changing the tempo’ could easily be an argument to start Wilshere and have Denilson as an option to increase control and keep possession on a lead! So… thinking about it… perhaps it is Wilshere who will start… because we do like exploding out the traps don’t we? And then Denilson as the rudder to bring on and keep hold of the two or three goal advantage we’ve racked up early on! 🙂

  119. Limpar – there you go then – If we’re coming out of the traps from the word go – the team nailed on.

    Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy
    Song, Wilshere, Nasri
    RVP, Chamakh, Arshavin

  120. I wonder, how do you brits feel about Shaka Hislop and Effan Okoku. I personally can’t stand them both, Effan always has something negative to say about Arsenal.

  121. Evra and Nani disagree about Arsenal as rivals but both agree that they enjoy playing against Arsenal because of the way we play.

    Are these guys football aficionados? I understand this might be their reaction as footballers who like to play an open, attacking game. But maybe they will start to like it less when we beat them at OT? I don’t think it is a terrific idea that they enjoy playing us. I doubt anybody on ManU said things like this in previous recent eras even if they won. I’ll bet they won’t be talking about the return fixture this exact way.

    This is why I would play JW. I’d like to fit Chamakh into the side as he is a handful, but RvP has that edge and spite to his game too. Kos is a battler, a fighter. You take the risk that his gambling instinct brings in a game like this, I think.

  122. Limestone – Nani is talking from a genuine ‘challenger’ or adversary point of view and someone that is anticipating a battle. Evra is clearly just a miserable piece of arrogant f*ck.

    I would actually like to see Koscielny and Djourou in defense as I think this type of game is suited for them.

  123. LA, I agree with that explosion of energy and then change of pace. If we can catch them early we can bring Denilson on to weave his passes around and break their will by keeping possession after we have put a couple past them. I like the idea.

    I almost wrote about AA23 that he may have unconsciously husbanded a bit of energy in anticipation of ManU!

    Darius, I think Theo starts over Chamakh but after he breaks them with a goal in the first half, Chamakh can come on and give them a bruising and keep us going with our possession game along with Denilson.

  124. Whoops. There are some poor jokes in the Abramograd link I supplied above. Sorry. I liked the logo and kit! The section on Abramovich was OK.

  125. I can see F-word opting for negetive tactics. Not to lose the game, that is.

  126. they will sit back and try to catch us on a counter which will play into our hands.
    last year that style might have worked because we played a 4-3-3 which left our wings exposed. The tweak in the formation to a 4-2-3-1 won’t give them the chance to break as easily as they’ve done in the past.

  127. Darius, yes, that is the defensive CB pairing I suggested above. And thinking about it more I like the fighting spirit of Kos too. Okay, I have my team set up, I have a vision of how this could/will go.

    Now getting time for ATVO fans forum to get into the mood on a Friday–but if I keep this up I will be exhausted and frazzled from anticipation by Monday. Why can’t we just play them Sunday? Unbelievable.

    I have really hated ManU, Red Nose, and their players for a long time. I can’t think of one I have actually liked since the start of the PL era, except maybe, maybe Giggs was largely inoffensive. I respect only one thing about their supporters, this resistance to the Glazers, otherwise mostly glory hunters. I respect that they are a big club and have had great success. But there isn’t anything classy, interesting, novel, or innovative about that club–they are just the establishment as far as I am concerned. What have they done for the game? I detest Chelsea and ManCity as pure financially doped Evil, Liverpool are a great historic club suffering a long term debilitating disease, and Spuds are the neighbours with whom we have a blood feud, but ManU is the true abiding enemy and rival, a deep structure enduring over la longue duree.

  128. I wonder what the so called pundits will say if we win away at OT. They are already saying we are top of the league by default, because Chelsea and United haven’t clicked into gear. And patrice has the nerve to call us a club in crisis.

  129. I’d be astonished if we lose against man utd. We have by far the better team, and everyone knows it – especially Evra. I would just caution our players not to adopt the Kamikaze style, which seems to be our favourite means of losing big matches that we ought to win. I don’t look forward to Wenger saying that “we lacked that little bit patience” as he explains why we threw caution to the wind in the opening 20 minutes, got caught twice on the break, and then could find no way back into the match. Let’s remember that a football match lasts 90 minutes, even if it means Yogi finds the game painful to watch. Our superiority usually becomes more pronounced as time passes, so it’s always good when we are in a situation where we can put that superiority to use.

  130. There’s only one club in Manchester: FC United!

    Unfortunately, they got knocked out of the FA Cup by Brighton.
    Droylsden F.C. lost on penalties to Orient.
    And Crawley Town beat someone else on penalties.
    Still a little romance in the cup?

    Crawley Town have had their own dodgy owners recently, easily confused with the spot-fixing owner of Croydon Athletic FC. Why are these petty crooks in non-league clubs? What does that say about the crooks at bigger clubs? Like the Glazers? I’ve no idea, but I hope Arsenal FC beat ManIOU.

  131. Why are people talking about Cesc being rushed back? It takes 2-3 weeks to get a player back from a hamstring injury. That’s how long his recuperation will be more or less.

  132. Believe it or not but in Kenya the manc vs Arsenal match is THE match. Ten times bigger than El classico. They be many a wary eye come Tuesday morning. Kickoff 23:00 hrs east african time.

  133. An excellent argument. Perhaps I shall be igniting some sort of exploding device here, but after buying Gooner at the Fulham game, I have decided to boycott this most inexplicably negative and divisive fanzine. The majority were people determined to take pleasure from poor results as a justification for getting rid of our most successful manager. Or perhaps one writer was correct, perhaps Wenger is an idiot for not signing Benzema from Madrid because bevause of our poor attacking options.

    I have come to expect (though not understand) the anti-Arsenal bias in the media (especially Sky), but I simply cannot abide those on the terraces, on the phone-ins, the fanzines, blogs and so on that seem to completely underestimate what Arsene has achieved whilst making us the most self-sufficient (and thus stable in the long-term) club in England.


  134. colneyblog | December 10, 2010 at 5:05 pm |

    Isn’t Efan Ekoku an Arsenal fan? The media like to say negative things about Arsenal because it’s the current conventional wisdom to say so.

  135. Ole,
    if he is an arsenal fan then it’s disgraceful really. He says some silly things although he is smarter than Mcmannaman who said he didn’t like our away form even though we have the best away form in the league. Are these pundits doing their research?

  136. Research? Why reserach when you can talk out of your arse. Most of them are idiots, who just parrot what they perceive to be conventional wisdom because they’re idiots and can’t think for themselves.

    By the way, despite the fact that Stew Robson can be very annoying, that’s why he’s a good pundit. He watches both sides and forms his own opinions

  137. Never mind that his opinions are often wrong and that we criticizes the club in just the ways you yourself have skewered, Ole, and yet is paid to commentate and offer punditry on ATVO. Fine, but why should we be paying him to do it? Others offer honest opinions on ATVO, but they do so from the perspective of Arsenal support.

  138. Watching some great Arsenal goals makes for enjoyable viewing.

    Some of van Persie’s goals made me a little bit sad, thinking about how much his career has been blighted by injuries. I have no doubt that had he been able to stay fit he’d already be a legend of Arsenal football.

    It’s still not too late, Drgba has had his best years from 27+, if RvP can avoid further injury he could still become the player we all know he can be.

  139. Poliziano @ 5:44:

    2 thumbs up for that post.

    Gadget @ 4:04:

    Sorry I did not get back earlier. Some of the negative stuff goes over the top but most of it is just a bunch of fans stating their opinions. Fans of all sports disagree about everything and always will. They have been been saying the same stuff for years. In the past we could only argue and occasionally came to blows at the pub or the water cooler. The internet allows lots of fans to interact and have virtual fights. The football “blogoshere” in England is far more developed then here in the US and that is fun for the fans but as Darius points out has its bad points.

  140. Think Cesc might play?

    “It‘s weird to have a weekend without a game, specially when u have to wait 4 a big game like monday night. Hope it goes quick.. Can‘t wait.”

  141. Is this guy for real?
    Hope he get to eat these words! Weird fellow

  142. Team Spirit, please do not link to anything written by Palmer.

  143. Darius,
    simply excellent. The Protocols of the Elders of English Football. Love it! What if they’re behind our injuries as well? You know, poisoning our players with rare trace elements or undetectable Amazonian tree frog sweat. And doping MU players with steroids which would partly explain their sub-human behaviour.

  144. Mongolian Gooner

    Top 5 goals against ManIOU

  145. Sorry no post today due to a virus hitting the YW household.

  146. Get well soon YW. (Are your deputies, Limpar and Gadget, indisposed as well?)

  147. YW,
    recommend a strong toddy. Preferably with dark rum, honey and lots of fresh ginger (you can squeeze it with a robust garlic press). It won’t cure you any faster but you’ll feel human.

  148. And Graham, Shotta. Don’t forget Graham.

  149. I think Graham has a fee, PZ. His crack team of researchers wouldn’t work for nothing.

  150. It’s the plastic fans (the ones who can afford to pay £50 week in week out) who are loving Arsenal as they like the comfort of mediocrity mistakenly believing it is called success. It’s the hardcore ones who have seen how good we have been in the past know this “alternative way” is the safe business model. No Arsenal fan is remotely interested in this and I don’t think we are in any danger of going under are we? Last time I looked anyway.

  151. Speak of the devil! It’s Golden Graham himself.

    Is there really a virus in the Warrior household, or did Yogi have just a moment’s lucidity before he tranformed into his alter-ego?

  152. Freddie Ljungberg spent part of his last season at Arsenal and the entire time he was at West Ham before his move to the MLS playing with a broken hip!
    This was not a training ground injury. It was the result of a Kick, whilst playing for, you guessed it, Arsenal in the PL.
    I guess it’s true, Arsenal players are just made of glass! In contrast, he was told by his physicians that he must have a high pain threshold. According to a physio/friend, this could also be translated as ‘You’re a bit slow sometimes, aren’t you…”!
    The interview was a rare moment of decent football coverage by the bleeb.
    (Still poor. The Football plunditry can’t compete with Chappell vs. Beefy!)

    Note for bile merchants:
    This injury was missed by AFC, West Ham FC & the Swedish FA.

  153. Well then, it is Christmas and I believe that Yogi should ask Mr. Scrooge for an increase in his wages. Slaving away at his computer day in and day out. Enough is enough. It is about time that you left early from work. You can leave this writing to the many scribes who regularly haunt this Blog as you have done in the past to good effect. As for the festive bird, have you made your order? Furthermore, you must help your wife make the Christmas pudding….if it is not already too late! Be off with you Yogi. Oh, and what about the Tiny Tims.

  154. That physio might have a point, but he chose two poor examples to back it up:

    Robben maintained his injury record in Madrid, had only one whole season fit. And guess who doesn’t play for Bayern since the WC?
    Van der faart was hardly the fittest man on Earth in Madrid or Hamburg, either.

  155. Get well soon, YW. Hope you are better just in time for Monday’s preview..

  156. In actual fact, Arsene Wenger has been quite scientific in his methods at Arsenal. Like Raymond Vereijen, Arsene has been vocal about the problems of playing too many games. Arsene has not necessarily talked about periodisation, but he has talked about the problem of ‘micro’ injuries that are carried over into traditional rest periods, like the Summer break, and not left to heal because of international games etc. Arsene talked about ‘the micro injury’ several years ago.

    As a method of attempting to cope with the exhaustion of playing too many games, Arsene has adopted the method, I suspect, of playing his Youth Players in the Carling Cup at the risk of being criticized for not taking the competition more seriously. He is always very watchful of ensuring that players are not overplayed and one virtually always hears Arsene commenting on a player being overly tired. Even though there have been a considerable amount of injuries at Arsenal, many of these injuries have been picked up while players have been on international duty. On the whole, our training staff at Arsenal have not been asleep at the wheel.

  157. “recommend a strong toddy. Preferably with dark rum, honey and lots of fresh ginger (you can squeeze it with a robust garlic press). It won’t cure you any faster but you’ll feel human.”

    Won’t the rum and honey run out of a garlic press, Finngun.

  158. Bradys right foot

    I’m really confident for Monday infact i think we could tank them. I can’t remeber the last time i was as confident of us going there and getting a win. The away performance last year still gets to me, we played them off the park but still lost. My main concern is that Webb is the referee he’ll be Utds biggest threat.

  159. I was just looking at the Premier League table; most of the teams have played either 8 or 9 home games out of 16 or 17 in total. The one exception to this is Blackpool, who have played only 6 home games and a whopping 10 away games so far. Despite this, they are still 9th in the table, and 5th in the goal-scoring charts. I think I have a new second team to support.

  160. Wait, that’s 5th in the goals per game, they haven’t played enough games as opposed to Newcastle.

  161. Aaditya.

    Blackpool are entertaining to watch as well, unlike some teams in the league.

  162. @dups,

    I’ve noticed. Promoted to the PL on play-offs, and they still come out with 3 strikers every game

  163. Evra’s dislike to Arsenal stem from the fact that Arsenal are everybody’s second team in France because of the french connection and he happens to play for united and no one pay him any attention in France or follow his stinking Manure so he wants to belittle Arsenal of course. He is talking like a little child jealous of his mate’s new bike. All I care about is 3 points on Monday and Evra will not concern me one bit.

  164. 1lc

    Didn’t Laurent Blanc say Evra will not find it easy to get back in the French team? Serve him right if he does not.

  165. actually as a player he isn’t bad but his attitude stinks. The fact that he keeps attacking Arsenal verbally, you sense he has a feeling of resitment towards his fellow french players who play or played for Arsenal, there is no other explanation to his sour obsession with Arsenal.

  166. Evra is also mad at Clichy displacing him from Les Bleus

    haha that loser

  167. dupsffokcuf,
    not if you use rum jello shots and non-runny hunny

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