Wigan Preview & Transfer Talk

We have been here before; Wigan defeated in the Carling Cup at home, they visit in the League not long afterwards. On the two previous occasions that has happened, Arsenal’s margin of victory has been by a single goal. That will suffice this afternoon as well.

The top three all play this afternoon, all against teams with relegation on their mind, currently occupying places 16 to 18 in the Premier League table. With Manchester City playing away at Aston Villa, that might be considered the toughest of the three fixtures. Perhaps Arsenal’s biggest enemy is complacency.

Arsene cannot allow that to happen. Arsenal have not so much as dropped a point in the home encounters with today’s visitors. Indeed, not one goal has been conceded in the last five matches at Arsenal between these two sides. Continuing that record today would be nice but not apparently necessary for victory to be achieved.

There will be more rotation from the midweek victory over Leeds but Arsene would still be expected to field his strongest line-up. In defence, the only change will be Kieran Gibbs making way for Gael Clichy. Lukasz Fabianski’s injury is taking time to heal; Arsene is in no hurry with Szczesny performing admirably in his absence.

In midfield, Wilshere and Cesc will return, Nasri pushing to the left in place of Arshavin with Denilson dropping out. van Persie and Walcott will complete the changes, Chamakh and Bendtner making way. There were reports that the Dane would be on his way but Papa Bendtner put the mockers on any loan deal. Quite why Arsene would let him go on loan is another matter; with the injury record of Arsenal’s forward line, the chances of more than one of them going anywhere are, I would suggest, nil.

The line-up this afternoon I expect is:

Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy; Fabregas, Song, Wilshere; Walcott, van Persie, Nasri

With Ipswich to come in midweek, it would be no surprise to see Wenger want to make early substitutions. That presumes a wide enough lead has been established to permit this. If that can be achieved, Miquel for Djourou, Denilson for Song and Arshavin for Nasri might be prime amongst his thoughts.

Bank of Arsenal – Loans To Suit All Purposes

Elsewhere, Arsene was keen to talk of the loan deals being arranged. Carlos Vela is apparently going next week, joining JET, Henri Lansbury and Aaron Ramsey in going for varying spells. Although Wenger did not specify where Vela’s destination, he re-iterated that guaranteed match time is key to a successful deal. Hardly surprising that the manager is insisting that Vela plays; he could stay at Arsenal on the bench, doing little.

Arsene was coy about incoming signings though. Diaby and Squillaci are expected to return to the first team squad this week although whether or not it is in time for midweek remains to be seen. Both of them have impacted on Wenger’s thinking over centre backs.

Gary Cahill was the subject of media enquiries yesterday with Arsene reticent to comment, silence being interpreted as confirmation of an Arsenal bid with nary a thought being given to the notion that Arsene may not be interested in the Bolton player.

The reason for that might just be the temptation of a Woodgate. Apparently signing an injury prone centre back is just what Arsene needs to solve his injury problems. Whoever Woodgate’s agent is, they have earned their 20% this week for planting the story with the ever-gullible Sky Sports.

Wenger hinted at what may happen if no new centre back arrives this month. Diaby into the midfield, Song into the heart of the defence should the necessity arise. Whilst I am all for forward planning – or is that disaster recovery – Wenger’s original comments about the subject still hold true: three centre backs is too few to last the rest of the season.

With no guarantees given about the success of Thomas Vermaelen’s operation, sorry procedure, it is surely too risky for Arsene to continue with just Koscielny, Djourou and Squillaci? Not quite as daft though as signing Woodgate. Still, God Bless the denizens of Hounslow for giving us a post-Christmas giggle.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on January 22, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 322 Comments.

  1. Nice points YW. In your line up I think you meant Szczesny as GK. Signing Woodgate would be a disaster – not confindence inspiring to the team at all!

  2. I can’t believe am first!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Woodgate !! That must be (as pointed out) just agent babble. I think if Wenger does sign someone in January as usual it will not happen until the last second of the last minute of the last hour of the 31st January. However based on the previous few years, chances are there will be no signing/s only for the 1st game in February to wipe out half the team with injuries !!

  4. YW – could not agree more when I say I laughed my had off in regards to Arsene buying Woodgate!! The guy is more crocked than Hargreaves but I will admit he showed promise. Don’t see Fabianski coming in for this one though, think he will stick with Tech-9 myself. Also having just read on the arsenal website how Song walked home in the snow(took him almost 5 hours!!) it explains why he was looking a bit tired there for a while, but apparently he is ok now!! It sure is a pity we only have one Song! 🙂

  5. I predict a rout today, 5-0 to the Arsenal, anybody?

  6. UgGunner

    |I did – think I’ll stick to “The Polish Lad” in future. Much easier…

    YW

  7. Great measured analysis, seems to me Sky are going down the TALKS…E root of ridiculous controversy must be losing hits on their website. For once I would really like to see us buy Cahill as this will show we really want those 4 trophies!! Think Squillaci started well but is struggling and Vermaelen who knows some of this type of injury blight players for years. It”s been great to see we now have a definitive 1st eleven. Let’s hope we’re really up for the next few home games.

  8. If RVP plays I can see him getting a hat-trick, the first shall be an individual effort of such beauty it defies description (no typing ya see), the second shall be a stunning free kick from just over 30 yards!!(slightly deflected of course) and the third shall be a sublime team effort involving every player touching the ball at least 3 times for a grand total of 47 passes before RVP decides he has seen enough passing and slots home from 11 yards. Simples 🙂

  9. I’m not so sure an orthodox, late-20s centreback would be the best way to go in Arsenals current situation. Imo… best we go for a utility type defender, ala Kompany, Stefan Mbia (CB, DM) or one of those william gallas / ivanovic types (DC, DR), which would help cover for Sagna in both matches against Barca.

    I’m not so sure woodgate would be that bad a signing. All that matters is how good a stop gap he would be when the need arises. Rolling contract, anyone?

  10. Besides…5 CBs in a team, all with justified expectation of starting games, is a bit of a no-no if you as me.

    Btw…another home run YW!

  11. I have a feeling that if Arsene does buy then it will be a right-footed player who can also play RB. In as much as I like Eboue, when it comes to teams like Barca, U Shited and even the Spuds(Bale), I do not think he would be good enough and if Sagna gets injured that would be our Achilles heel. He is in fact already suspended for the first leg v. Barca I think, so if you are going to play guess who? keep that in mind.

  12. good morning
    another well written piece of excellence…
    i really have no time for all this woodgate talk..like you pointed out YW its agent spin
    to be honest on his day hes one of the best defenders in the league, if not europe..his reading of the game and his ability to last ditch tackle, win the majority of headers and overall leadership of his back line is remarkable..not to mention he can play a little as well with the ball at his feet..
    only problem is…
    1..hes a spud (spit)
    2..he hasnt played competitive PL footy since he was 12 or something..
    if someone would have told me wenger was signing woodgate 5 or 6 years ago i would have been over the moon…but now???? no thanks i have visions of the next silvestre…
    but you never know with sir arsene he likes to suprise us from time to time..

  13. Mathias Jorgenson – He is a right footed CB who can also play RB. Has CL experience and Danish international experience so is known to Bendtner. In fact he has had at least 2 trials with Arsenal so seems the perfect stop-gap. At 20 he is young but like I said not inexperienced. He is also 6’3 so that’s a big(sorry) plus. He is also on record as saying he does not mind not playing every game as he also develops in training, great attitude or what? Plays for Copenhagen at the moment.

  14. irishgray,

    If he’s had two trials at Arsenal and we haven’t signed him then I would think that the boss wasn’t overly impressed with what he saw.

    I’m looking forward to a good performance today, the momentum has been building, so it’s imperative to keep it going. especially with the League Cup second leg in midweek coming up. This is the first game of my accumulator today, the’td better not fuck it up!!

  15. irish
    i really do think we need a player with PL experience this time…
    if we cant find one for a reasonable price id be happy not to buy one at all
    i might get shot down in flames for this but i think if the worst comes to the worst there is a possibility wenger could use the mighty bac attack at CB with eboue deputising at RB..i think we could cope for a few games like that
    sagnas form is better than 08…hes a monster, his pace, power, and he can tackle and headbut ppl who piss him off…easily the best defensive RB in the world in my opinion…
    i wouldnt lose any sleep if wenger decided to use bacacttack as a last resort..
    he probabaly wont but in my opinion its an extra option if needed…

  16. With a fair few other travelling Gooners I made it up to the Wigan v AFC game in December, focussing on a healthy contribution to our goal difference rather than worrying about the small matter of actually winning the bloody thing! The 2-2 draw was not an easy score to love especially as we’d just beaten Chelski a couple of days earlier. I say “we’d just beaten Chelski” – in fact, as we now know, only 3 players from the earlier victory turned out for us at Wigan and my over-riding memory of the night, aside from the substantial ‘assists’ Wigan got for their goals (a ‘penalty’ and a splendid headed effort from a pressured Squillaci) was of an unfit looking Arshavin (who scored) and an isolated Bendtner cutting a lonely, and seemingly ineffectual furrow on the wing (but who also scored). That we were unable to finish off Wigan once they’d gone down to ten men following N’Zogbia’s attempt to render Jack unconscious was more than a little disappointing.

    So, 5-0 today? Well, quite possibly! Providing Arsene’s recent comments about his team’s intelligence hold true and we don’t assume we’ll win by just turning up. Hopefully, the Wigan, Ipswich and Leeds lessons have been well and truly learned because quite honestly, Wigan look like relegation fodder and should be there for the taking. As they were in December …

    If the team you list play then we should do it with some ease so I’d expect a high-tempo start to the game with a view to winning it ‘early’ so Sami and Cesc can be subbed and the rest of the side can take it down a notch ahead of our next encounters.

    Looking ahead – I can’t believe we have so many home matches coming up – I’m giving serious consideration to taking a duvet and just moving into the Ems for the duration; hopefully this long run against largely modest opposition will help us get over our weak-ish home form and launch us for a strong run in to the end of the season.

    With a fit first eleven we could well get past Barca in Europe but if we don’t I for one won’t be losing too much sleep. The lack of continental distraction would in my view make us favourites to win the Premiership plus one or two other trophies. Unbeaten Manure DON’T look good and unlikely to win the league by drawing us all to death. City DON’T look a happy side and I expect them to unwind through a combination of poor team spirit and the already evident infighting on their bouncy castle of collapsing egos. Chelski’s decline (which, tbh, I thought would happen last season) IS at last kicking in with the prolonged absence of Lampard and the malaria/age affected Drogba failing to perform for their decent but fatally undermined Manager.

    Who else is there? Nope, can’t think of anyone …

    This means an awful lot of humble pie to be consumed by the likes of TalkShite Radio, Linekar, Hansen & Co on Bitch of the Day and the “news” desk at Pie in the Sky. Can’t wait, bring it on and see you at the game!

  17. With all this talk of RB, anyone know how coquelin is holding up at Lorient?

  18. hes doing ok i think sixtay..playedn near a dozen games but they are using him as a midfielder…
    he can play rb but cm is his position really

  19. previous games v wigan have taught us a lesson…
    dont underestimate the opponent, play to the whistle, never swtich off….
    the result is in the bag but martinez has them playing ball so we just need the application….
    outwork them first and the quality will shine through…
    do that and we will romp home comfortably

  20. Ah, when Saturday comes…

    Still my favourite day of the week.

  21. Morning Goonahs!

    Any sort of a win today will be just the job. Obviously score early and it becomes a bit easier. So i will take a performance like the Leeds one. Control the game, limit their chances but be sure to take ours. Do that and our quality will see us through. Therefore i say play our strongest side and worry about the next game only after this one, we cannot afford to slip up.

    Chezzer
    Bac Yohan Koz Clichy
    Song Jackie
    Theo Cesc Nas
    VanP

    As for a centrehalf – i now start to doubt we will sign another – Le Boss’s recent comments kinda put a dampner on it for me. Risky in the extreme not to get someone in if you ask me…….

  22. Woodgate is more crocked than Wedgewood which basically means that we are in the shite. Scrooge ain’t gonna sign anyone, his hands are superglued to his pockets. With Chamakh, Arshavin, Denilson, Bendtner and Squillachi all not doing the business, we have got serious big decisions to be made regarding that five and if Wenger can get in maybe another two players, one CB and possibly another holding midfielder and two wingers with a bit more power I would be very happy.

    But of course, the french miser ain’t gonna do nothing. Most likely we’ll get a last second big for a big “name” that will be secret and it will be announced on pravda in 4 months time once we have crashed out of every competition. Super quality my arse. We’ll be shopping at lidl while others are spending serious dough in John Lewis. We are 3 weeks into this window and it is a super farce. All we hear is denials and moans about english players being over valued. We are a joke club.

  23. does anyone really think Wenger will buy someone. the optimist in me thinks there is no chance. just have to wait for djourou to go down with an injury and then see song at the back vs barca again like the last time.

  24. for this jan transfer season im going to go the opposite of how i usually go – im saying we wont get anyone in (we always seem to need someone dont we?) so i can be surprised when we do – rather that thinking we will get someone but then nodding disappointedly saying wel muddle through but it might cost us , when we dont.

  25. I believe that if Wenger does not sign a CD, it would convey a serious lack of desire to win and be credible in defense this season. For after all, Diaby should be assumed to play only one game and then get injured. If Miquel is a cover, surely he should be tried before the window closes?

    United are at the position today because of their defenders, not because of their attacking prowess, which is nothing to write about. If Arsenal strengthen their defence, they will go on and win and defend honourably against Barca. Otherwise, it will be a humiliation. However, if Wenger wants to be a book keeper, so be it. The modern clubs have dis-empowered their fans completely.

  26. Delia---Block 112

    Just off to catch my train, desperate to see some Wengerball and would be more than happy to see your proposed line-up. Am full of expectation ! There does appear to be a real buzz about the side at present, so let’s give everyone our full support today no matter who plays. Forgot to mention how much I enjoyed yesterday’s posts, top quality folks.
    As always COYRs

  27. Great post as usual Yogi. I second Irishgray on the 5:0 score. COYG!

  28. duke i dont think wenger will buy..
    song and sagna are able to cover, although im worried about the impact of losing song in the midfeild
    hes the best in the world now at what he does..essien masch blah blah blah aint fit to tie his boots…(although i would take them as his backup 😉 )its a massive void when hes not there
    hes a monster id prefer to use sagna like i mentioned before but the chances are song is the obvious choice…
    but, you never know…it would be nice to see someone brought in

  29. Who needs to run over to le-shite when Muppet does a faithful, if not better, imitation. LMAO.

  30. Very good point shotta. Also Muppet makes me laugh while ‘the other place’ just has me groaning.

    Seriously I haven’t read that site for months and I was starting to feel that some on here were a bit over the top about their moaning. Then, t’other night, after the Leeds game, I went and had a look. You’d have thought we lost and that Arsene was a war criminal. I couldn’t believe it.

    So, I won’t be going back but for those that do, I won’t question your diatribes against the darkness anymore.

  31. Just my thoughts on the defence.

    I think it’s important to differentiate between having a weak defence and being short on personnel. There’s a misguided narrative that we actually have defensive problems. No we don’t. Our league table position and our doal difference totally discredits and trashes the stupidity that Arsenal has a weak defence.

    The problem is that this narrative has been shoved down our throats for so long by the Hounslow Mafia that it’s got a life of it’s own. It’s almost like no one ever watches Arsenal’s defense at all. They’ve just accepted the unjustifiable narrative that we are ‘weak’ in defence. Man City for example are leaking goals like a dodgy sewer and no-one says shit.

    We have the best right back in the country for example, and possibly even in Europe in Sagna, but nobody even gives him the respect due to him. Djourou and Koscielny are doing very very well considering and it’s folly to suggest that they’re not capable of delivering.

    The issue is that of having adequate backup – Vermaelen is not likely to play an active role until possibly April and Squillaci is more than adequate in providing relief for injury and suspension. However, we still need another player to cover the numbers, and not because we’re not good enough. That’s absolute nonsense.

    Frankly speaking, I’d rather we don’t sign anyone if Wenger doesn’t find the right player, rather than sign someone for the sake of it and from pressure from the masses.

    And on the scale of probability – if you balance the return schedules for Vermaelen and Squillaci, suggesting that Song can provide cover is not a bad business decision at all. It’s a stop gap and Denilson and Diaby can play in midfield to cover for Song. It’s not a long term solution – and it’s only to provide relief for Djourou and Koscielny. Besides, Sagna can also play as a CB and Eboue at right back.

    We need to move away from buying for the sake of buying and focus on trying to get the right player to buy. I’m very supportive of buying a new CB, but if we don’t find someone suitable or available, I’d rather we don’t buy.

    More importantly, we need to believe in our team and support them through thick and thin.

  32. Muppet,that is funny but did you write it yourself or copy and paste from “Le Grub”?

  33. Darius,has Sanga played at CB?
    That could work ,nice idea,

  34. Darius,

    This is spot on. In a lot of ways our squad is an embarrassment of riches. We know all about the riches in midfield and attack, but even, I think , in defence. We have in Clichy and Gibbs, surely the best left back pairing in the country. Fabianski and Szczesny are now being looked at as seriously good goalkeepers. People’s reactions to Koscienly are getting funnier and funnier. You can see that Le Groan were lining him up as a scapegoat in the making, but they’ve been confounded by what they are seeing. A tough tackler who can smoothly pass the ball out of defence and has bags of composure… WTF ? The doomers are just confused… is he really that good ? And Djourou, who has been written off as a hospital case, has turned out to be one of the best centre backs in the premiership on current form – quick, composed and has been outjumping everybody in the air. You mentioned Sagna of course, and we also have Squillachi and Vermaelen. I don’t think Squillachi has done a whole lot wrong, apart from not being able to flatten Drogba. But I don’t thank that matters now, Drogba is 33 and is surely in the twilight of his career. Good luck to him, but he won’t be missed by us !

    I think if we do sign a centre back, then Squillachi is probably the one who will become 5th choice, but hey, that won’t be too bad – a french international with 20 caps as 5th choice.

  35. Benitez says on 5live that AW is his number one in Blighty.
    Shocked hack: “Better then Slur Fergus?”
    Rafa: “Yeah, for sure.”

    Bleedin’ eyed Hack: “…bit of gamesmanship there from the bitter Rafa”.

  36. Sagna at cb will not win us anything and also we will be void of one of the best rb’s. we all know we need at least a loan signing as cover at the back and if he doesnt get it the inevitable will appen.

  37. An impressive Rocky Balboa inspired winter training schedule for Dr.Billong.

    COYG!

  38. Muppet.

    I was laughing the other day when Paul Merson was commenting on Joe Hart and suggesting that if only we could buy Joe Hart – so called world class keeper – we’d have the title in a bag. Lord forbid if Fabianski or Szczesny would have made the same number of mistakes as Joe Hart, or even Reina have made this season. The blunt truth is that Fabianski – who lets not forget, is the keeper at the moment with the best stop to shot ratio in the league, as well as Tech 9 are having a season of their lives and they’ve pretty much cemented their positions as first and second choice. They’re actually better than the English darling Joe Hart.

    The punks won’t let go – “Arsenal needs a world class keeper”. No we don’t – the fools need to stop being prejudiced, unintelligent pieces of fuck who are just interested in spreading bile and sticking to cliches of old.

    On the defence, if you look at our away record for example – the best in the league – you do have to ask whether these observers are actually stupid and can’t see that the defense in general is solid, and in particular, much better than 90% of the rest of the league. Yes, we have one or two moments – but who doesn’t.

    Your right about Koscielny too. The boy is class, that’s fact. And he’s only getting started. I like the way he can literally find a one touch pass out of a difficult defensive spot of bother and be available to provide an option to change defence into attack. I’d rather have that kind of player than a row Z kicking type of clogger of the action hero built like a brick shit-house Chuck Norris I’m-an-ugly-7-foot-mug-whose-only-capable-of kicking-things-out-but-will-crush-anything-in-my-way type of player.

    @Dennis. Yes, Sagna has played central defence before and is a very safe pair of hands in that position.

  39. Mathias Jorgenson? 20 years old and with Bartley to come into the squad next year I don’t see it. Ironic we could have really used Senderos now.

    Gary Cahill? I’m not buying this media hype he has one cap for england who let’s not forget are garbage. Samba maybe, the physicality alone makes him a target I wouldn’t mind curtis davies as a squad player either.

    The critical weakness in our squad is the lack of a dm, anything happens to Song we can put a fork in us and with african nations next season a european/british player will probably come in over the summer. I like de rossi but does he even speak english?

    Denilson should never wear the shirt again, he is too casual in his approach and is always carried and I hope Lansbury gets his place next year.

    3pts today is all I am asking for and we need to get behind the team, our ‘support’ at home is a real issue along with favorites being played regarding bendtner.

  40. The critical weakness in the squad is the position of D**M?
    Hmmmmmmmmmm.
    Senderos is injured.

    COYG.

  41. Lets show some humility regarding the game this afternoon.All makes me uncomfortable when people talk about routing the other team cos they’re ‘weaker’ opposition.In the past talks of 5- nil to the Arsenal have ended up with us suffering a loss or having a terribly difficult game.Call me superstitious if you would but humility and levelheadedness is key.

  42. wonder, do we even play with a so called defensive midfielder. Li’l Jack Willy, Song and Cesc seem to attack and defend in equal measure sharing out the load and dictating the game.

    Just imagine how dumb-founded opposition defenses are when they don’t anticipate or know how to deal with someone they would have expected to be “sitting” – as the old chestnut goes. Besides, you do have to question the value of hard tackling so called defensive midfielders. After they hard tackle, then what? They can’t even guarantee the destination of the ball after that cheer leading driven hard tackle.

    Alex Song, Li’l Jack Willy, Denilson, Diaby and Ramsey are all different in that their natural instinct is to employ a strategy that will give them a better chance of controlling the direction of the ball. A good example is the art of intercepting instead of tackling.

  43. For the 3rd/4th time on ACLF, linked by various, a quality little video by Tactical Renoog:

    Obvious variations which depend upon who plays, there’ve been tweaks to this system all season long as observed by wiser football heads then myself.
    The above is also a clip of one of my favourite goals of the season so far. There are a few contenders.
    Pass of the season so far?
    Koscielny’s ‘raking pass’ on Wednesday to the that right old whinger, Sagna, is a just one candidate. Too much tippy tapas, not enough rosbief in this squad.

  44. I really don’t believe that AW believes in the sitting DM role. Some managers and thinkers about the game actually consider the Makalele role to be a bit “anti-football” as it brings a level of specificity to a role that should, in fact, be quite flexible in a free flowing game like football. I remember Arrigo Sacchi questioning the level of specialisation that is implicit in having a Makalele-type sitting/ holding midfielder and saying that it is probably not such a good thing for the game as a whole.. I guess it’s a matter of ‘taste’ ultimately. The closest Wenger’s ever really come to playing a bona fide holding player was when we had Gilberto but even Gilberto got forward and scored goals…. I honestly think that a true holding/ sitting player would be detrimental to the way the team is set up to play. Ultimately, I think that what matters is the manager’s overarching view of how the game ought to be played… the more regimented and system-based a manager’s philosophy is the more likely they are to use a sitting/ holding midfielder. Personally I think that some players are criminally wasted in that position when played as rigidly as Makalele. John Obi mikel would be a fantastic player if he were at Arsenal under Wenger…. at Chelsea he is totally wasted IMHO.

  45. Darius | January 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm |

    Spot on man…who needs a DM, who just sits, wins the ball and isn’t worried about distribution. Song has raised his game a notch this season…I remember at the start, I was always complaining about his forays forward, which left gaps to be exploited behind us,but I think the midfield has found the right blend. Each player is consciously aware of the position of the other..This is evident when Jackie, Cescy and Song play.

    Even when Denilson comes in, he does a good job, maybe not as efficiently as the others, but relatively acceptable, moreover there is room for improvement.

    I am particularly impressed with Theo’s eagerness to get the ball back when he losses it high up the field. We all know he’s not the best of defensive players, but at least he puts in a shift. I saw a little bit of that from Arshavin in the Leeds game.

    I believe Barcelona’s greatest strength is not their attacking prowess,but how quickly the regain the ball after loosing it high up the field. Were are beginning to incorporate this into our game.(good to see)

    Aren’t we the luckiest football fans on earth? Were are so spoilt for choices.

    C’mon The Arsenal

  46. It’s 5:0 Gunman. We are pumped up for this!

  47. Wow…great goal by Raul Mereiles

    Liverpool 2:0 Wolves

  48. I believe Barcelona’s greatest strength is not their attacking prowess,but how quickly the regain the ball after loosing it high up the field. Were are beginning to incorporate this into our game.(good to see)

    Aren’t we the luckiest football fans on earth? Were are so spoilt for choices.

    Nonsense.

    Barcelona’s strength is their attacking play, To say their biggest strength is winning the ball back is ridiculous. As we all know, it’s not about having the ball. It’s what you do with it that wins you games

  49. I have to say, who caught barca’s 3-1 loss to real betis on wednesday? Just proves that we do have the deepest and strongest squad in europe, if not the world. Barca lose just 2 first team defenders, defensive midfielder, attacking one and striker (as arsenal have been without for pretty much the majority of the last 4 years) and they look fragile and a far cry from the world’s best team.

    Oh and best of luck to Arsenal. let’s hope they’re as up for this as we all are c’mon you gunners make us all happy 😀

  50. One area were Denilson has improved is his tackling. When one on one with opponents he stands a bit sideways waiting for the player and then pounces when they’ve made their move. I’ve seen him nick the ball this way many times this season.

  51. I just hope nobody’s already brought that point up today, as often happend on here..

  52. Ole gunner labelling that comment as “nonsense” is slightly ridiculous. I mean they are insanely good and commited when retrieving the ball. It is their 2nd biggest strength though, also one arsenal are starting to match.

  53. Guys try translating this page into catalan and look through the comments, I don’t know it made me smile heh..

  54. Wonder how good Bartley would have been and will be. Which one of the young ones will break into the first team next?

  55. Barcelona’s strength is their attacking play, To say their biggest strength is winning the ball back is ridiculous. As we all know, it’s not about having the ball. It’s what you do with it that wins you games.

    I agree that what you do with the ball when you have it is the most important…Barcelona is the best attacking team in the world, but we saw last year against us that they can be very vunerable when they don’t have the ball. They keep a high line like us to stifle the opposition and starve them of posession, this ultimately leads to them dictating play and creating lots of goal scoring chances.

    Am not creating an argument here..just my point of view…nuff said

  56. Ole gunner labelling that comment as “nonsense” is slightly ridiculous. I mean they are insanely good and commited when retrieving the ball. It is their 2nd biggest strength though, also one arsenal are starting to match.

    Thank you

  57. How to get the football off FC BBB:

  58. How FC BBB ‘won’ that football back.

  59. Zak,

    Winning the ball back is just a mean to an end. The end is possession. The reason their pressing works so well is that teams are pressed back, because Barcelona press very high, and teams know that Messi can single-handedly destroy you, and if he doesn’t their combination play will.

    Barca’s strength is their collective game, and their ability to take devastating advantage of possession

  60. @Finsbury
    That yellow card was a disgrace and played some part in us losing that game. Denilson’s tackle was 100% clean and that yellow card obviously limited him for the rest of the match as far as tackles he could make which in turn prevented him from bossing midfield like he did in the first leg.

  61. I believe that this season against Barca we will be stronger. Djourou and Kos are very composed on the ball and can find a decent pass even if pressed hard, something that for example Sol could not really do. This will clearly be an advantage and will allow us to actually string some more passes together and not be forced to make wild clearances all the time like in the first half in the first leg.

  62. Men, as we approach the anointed time of battle, let us look to history and draw not the inspiration for complacency, but rather the inspiration to continue tradition. WE have beaten this enemy many times, yes this is true, but we have also beaten ourselves.

    This is a battle, as they all are and must be, that calls for passionate hearts and clear minds; surgical eyes and precise limbs.

    Last time our two sides fought they used dishonour as a tactic. We shall not return the favour, but a combination of skill and karma shall guide us today. We shall have victory today.

    Let’s show the world who we are.

    We are the ARSENAL!

    FOR YOU. FOR US. FOR ARSENE. FOR ARSENAL!

  63. Arsenal
    53 Szczesny
    03 Sagna
    06 Koscielny
    20 Djourou
    22 Clichy
    04 Fabregas
    08 Nasri
    14 Walcott
    17 A Song
    19 Wilshere
    10 Van Persie
    Substitutes
    55 Shea, 27 Eboue, 28 Gibbs, 15 Denilson, 23 Arshavin, 29 Chamakh, 52 Bendtner

  64. The lineup is as Yogi suggested.

  65. Game over already? That right there is possibly one of the strongest 11 in football right now. At least 3:0 to the Arsenal!

  66. Le Tiss on Sky just said Cahill is better than any CB Arsenal have,Charley Nic.said just pay £20 mill for him,WTF ,how do they stay in work?

  67. Well doesn’t that team just make your mouth water? Sticking with my 5-0 to the Arsenal prediction. Fuck humility!! When are champions ever humble? It’s called glory and I’ll be dammed if we have not earned it COYG!!

  68. The under 18’s beat Ipswich 1-0, a nice start to the day so 🙂

  69. Brum hands Manure a goal in the first minute. Nice work.

  70. well can you blame them? Dont they got a british manager? No british manager in their right mind would dare to beat SAFs team when he is hunting an invicible season….

  71. There it goes again. Keeper playing out of his skin against us.

  72. Fox Soccer channel are suggesting that Arsenal have made an opening bid of £10 m for Cahill – according to an American fan e-mailing Dan Roebuck.

  73. invincible sorry not invicible,

  74. The reason why Barcelona win the ball back so easily is because they impose themselves on the opposition. If they had to chase after their opponents they wouldn’t win the ball back the way they do.

  75. Poodle – British manager? How about MclMcleish being a former player like Bruce.

  76. Walcott unplayable. Will score or assist for sure.

  77. I feel that Caldwell should see some coloured card.

  78. Theo has been superb so far – two brilliant pull backs. Pulls back. Whatever.

  79. well Darius i think regardless what they done in the past british managers poo their pants when it coms to SAf.
    Also Fabregas is to “clever” for his own good. He should know to not play so well, he should know that playing well is not what PL is about. PL is about british grit. The grit that wins then cups in every world tournament 😛

  80. Beckham brings his son to the Arsenal game. Tells you everything, doesn’t it?

  81. Wigan aren’t terribly good are they? Extremely fortunate not to be 2 down.

  82. I thought that Evil. What does he want his boy to see? Quality.

  83. Robin van Perfect!!!

  84. Fucking brilliant. Like we are playing against training ground manikins.

  85. Robin Bang Persie – Bang Bang Bang

  86. Damn Song, can’t stay at the half line and wait. Look what he has done now: assisted the opening goal. Bloody awful! We need some chains to make sure Song never gets close to the opposition box.

  87. Look at that – fucking all in wrestling and still couldn’t get the ball

  88. agree Evil… He is a D**M…

  89. i must say i prefare Chesney in pink! he looks good in pink. Pink is a cool colour for Gks. Im convinced it scares the homophopic strikers and makes them fail..

  90. What is interesting is to see how many Wign players are defending very deep. Theo is pinning them back.

    Someone will have to get a card for all these fouls on Fabregas.

  91. Did Nasri really just pass to himself? Round the fullback? Genius.

  92. If this is what the newly abstemious Alex Song looks like – attacking instincts well and truly curbed – then I’m all for it!

  93. Lovely how Fabregas and Song covered for Clichy right there when Clichy was in attack and had to track back.

  94. WTF! This football is better than sex.

  95. I’ve got a Dutch stream – can’t understand much but they clearly love us and RVP in particular.

  96. Lovely move…

  97. Darius – don’t tell Liz but I agree. I’m going to do my flies up and just watch the match.

  98. Brilliant move by the team and Fabregas. Should have been a goal. Such great play. We rule them.

  99. Darius, it is…

  100. shit, why is theo not more selfish?.

  101. Fuck a duck!!! What a break how are they keeping the score down? Should be what? 4 by now? Brilliant stuff.

  102. Wow, damn football brain, Theo. Get rid of it! Next time just shoot!

  103. @poodle
    It’s that football brain he is lacking so much.

  104. Why didn’t Walcott just take the chance for himself…

  105. and how can Cahill be better than Kos and Djorou? If he is hes worth way more than 20M thats for sure.

  106. If he goes 1 on 1 and misses he’s hung for not passing and vice versa.

  107. Steww – I think Liz will understand…just enjoy…LOL!

  108. I haven’t seen a CB with better ball skills and more elegant tackling style that Kos. Ever. He’s the buy of the season.

  109. Theo is just a really likable person i think. He is the nicest England player tbh. Always polite, always well mannered. And you could be fooled to belive PL is full of exceptional keepers when you watch an arsenal game… 😦

  110. Yogi:

    Great post as always. Agree with everything you say. The team seems to be building up for a really good run. Based on past experience defensive problems are the most likely thing that could derail us. The last few league games have seen some of the best defensive form from AFC in a few years. The fastest way to lose this form would injury issues. Obviously we do not want to make a transfer mistake, but the club can afford to spend the money and there would be no long term harm if a player did not turn out to be a long term bargain. Overpaying once will not send us down the path to the dark side. The risk reward ratio is tilted very heavily towards getting a player. If we do not someone its not the end of the world but finding 1 more defender seems a no brainer.

    Darius: Our defensive form has certainly improved recently but its a little early to declare long term victory. Some very encouraging signs and I expect us to maintain this form to the end of the year. (unless there are injury problems, see above) If we play this way the rest of the year you will have every reason to say “I told you so”.

  111. It’s like there are 11 gods on the field tonight. Wigan are playing like they are already relegated.

  112. Unbelievable stuff. On another day this is a cricket score.

  113. Their bloody keeper is having a great game.

  114. You know alhabsi has never ever been more than a decent GK. its sick!

  115. Bill – go take your Tamazipan and leave us to enjoy the game.

  116. Al Habsi. ~_~ Why, oh please someone tell me why, do keepers always keep their a-game for the matches against us?

  117. We are running rampant but just can not put a second past the wigan GK. Hopefully we can get another before 1/2 and get one early in the 2nd and bring on a couple of subs.

  118. If Arsenal had the 2% Ref advantage that United always has, we would easily win. Those puny 2% can be the difference between no 1 spot and no 2. that is why it pisses me off so much…

  119. i hope Cesc starts sniffing goals cos ones he does hes unstoppable. Him and Arsh at top level would be great for the rest of the campaign…

  120. and who on earth is that ref? is he blind or something?

  121. We don’t have the goals our play deserves.

  122. This half display was better than the home game against ManC.

  123. Kenyan Gunner – Patience my young Padwan, patience.

  124. Cannot believe we are still only 1-0 despite completely dominating…while ManU are already 3-0….

  125. IT’s pretty much Arsenal vs Al Habsi, and by god isn’t he doing well! We should be 8-0 up. The team are playing fantastic for the most part although I feel we’re not giving it our all. A brill display of football.

  126. Bloody stream went down just before RVP’s goal – damn. BBC reckons 65% play to us, more like 90%, I have never seen such one way traffic, and 11 attempts on target, we just need to stop shooting at the GK

  127. Irishgray the force is strong in you!

  128. @MDGunner
    The GK just needs to stop getting in the way of our shots!

  129. The most one-side game I’ve ever seen this season.

  130. We should be up a few more goals but I’m not complaining about how we’re playing. All we need to do is keep plugging away and this will be a rout.

    Bill, it’s always easier to speak about overpaying when it’s someone else’s money, right?

  131. manu are not fun to watch but they are efficient. They are like the dull uninspiering accountance man at work that while dull and boring, he gets the job done. Each to their own. if that is what you prefare when you watch footy. Dull but efficient then United is the team for you. If you are a more adventurouse type, the type that like it hot, wild and sexy then go Arsenal.

    Its bit like marrying Abramovich vs Richard Branson. We all know it woud be more fun to hang out with Branson. They both rich xcept Branson is actually reaching for the moon…

  132. Birmingham haven’t put up much of a fight – apart from Hleb stumping Carrick’s foot!

  133. we need to wrap the game up and give some players a rest.
    Its not over and God forbid Wigan should score.

  134. I’m happy that there was a goal for us… Some pressure is off atleast..

  135. Of course. Overspending once is not going to put you deep in the red, but it can easily become a habit. If we overspend now, why not overspend the next time we have an “issue”, after all, it worked well the first time, didn’t it? And why keep having a youth team, if we can just fix the issues we have in the team by overspending?

    Arsenal should not overspend — ever. It’s against what the club has become.

  136. Wigan make a blistering start to the second half … yawn.
    Just watched ‘highlights’ of Manure 1st half. Birmingham (who I despise anyway) basically set up each of the goals they conceded. Why do teams just roll over up there?

  137. It looks like Wigan has arrived. At least somebody has removed those blue mannequins from the field.

  138. well i hope we score again soon cos it seems like Wigan actually thinks they can get away with a draw. and that is out of the question really…

  139. seriously

  140. well the ref must think the Arsenal team is way soft and fall and cheat and pretend to get caught by honoruable wigan all the time…

  141. There’s the injury the doomers have prayed for, a CH injury just what they want.

  142. i see AW got his fashion coat on

  143. During his one year out they replaced Djourou’s bones with steel. he does not break anymore.

  144. I think the way Wigan are playing they want to bore our players to sleep and sneak up and score really quietly.

  145. Damn but RVP rules!

  146. Bang Bang Bang.

    And to sweeten it, Ryan Shawcross has been red carded against Fulham.

  147. 4 goals in 2 matches.. RvP is back..

  148. Making goal scoring look easy: Robin Van Persie.

  149. ROBIN VAN PERSIE! CLICK! CLICK! CLICK!

  150. Limestonegunner

    As I said a couple days ago, RvP is going to light up the league. My estimate of 12-15 this season may start to look conservative soon!!

  151. Great new darius. Hope he gets run over on the way home too.
    Isn’t it funny how we can create so many amazing chances through genius footy and then wham bang score like that.

  152. @Darius he aint that kind of player you must know this…

  153. Feisty Cesc!

  154. Caldwell is becoming a fan favourite now, isn’t he? He is starting to draw some nice reactions from the crowd when he is on the ball!

  155. Was that Wigan’s first shot on goal?

  156. U Shited are all over Birmingham, 4-0 up but still Shrek can’t score!! He just missed a header from 2 yards out!! World Class My Ass!! Sagna has scored more than he has.

  157. Sagan lucky to get away from that challenge. Well seen by the ref.

  158. I agree, steww. If you go in over the ankle with studs showing it has to be a card — always.

  159. That’s Karl Sagna of course. The famous typo full back.

  160. These foreigners can tackle with the same commitment that they get tackled. But the British players with grit and steel calls can only tackle with commitment but can’t receive a tackle with such commitment.

  161. Hahaha, Fab is a genius. Almost scores while getting fouled.

  162. calderwell is a bit stupid is he not?

  163. Well well well – and a red card.

  164. Penalty!

  165. Finally Caldwell is off!

  166. rvp misses!

  167. Loving Lil Jack’s now trademark dummy.

  168. Can’t remember the last time I have seen that! Guess he must have been too anxious to get that hattrick. But he will score another!

  169. Overated that van Persie.

  170. Robin Van Mersie!!

  171. He’ll be upset about that. I rember him saying that, with his technique and ability, he should never miss a penalty.

  172. Cbob – them is fighting words I tells ya!!

  173. RVP and the post — an obsession,

  174. LOL Consols – useless Dutchman.

    And a piece of useless informaiton from Dan Roebuck. Van Persie has never scored a career hat-trick.

  175. What do you do if you are a defender? Go with Walcot and leave RVP free? Put two on Cesc and watch Nasri waltz through the rest? Ignore Song as he’s only a DM? It must be terrifying.

  176. Honestly, his shooting accuracy is just too high. He is always so precise that he aims for the inside of the post. Even half an inch can make the difference between scoring and missing in those cases.

  177. That is the first pen I have ever seen RVP miss…and, did he hit the post again? I had to come in to work and couldn’t finish watching.

  178. Listen to them moan and groan when Arsh misses a pass. Insane. Fucking ingrates. Why not try getting behind him? Supporting.

  179. I think its amazing that when Wigan do manage to get the ball they still insist on man marking Cesc. Keep watching, its not Cesc marking their player but rather theirs marking him, when they have posession. Too funny!!

  180. Speaking of performances today – so far, Tech 9 hasn’t made a save.

  181. Our home support truly is piss poor 90% of the time…

  182. You see! He’s rubbish too.

  183. Atleast the players are behind AA. They know his value.

  184. Can they give Tech 9 a stool and a cup of tea…it would really be a great seat to watch the aciton from…

  185. Can I get some play by play from those watching…I hate when I have to leave the game 3/4 of the way through…

  186. Sweet!!

  187. Gets his hatrick!

  188. Who scored?!!!!

  189. RvP gets the hattrick his performance deserved. 6 goals in 3..

  190. Hat Trick!

  191. ROBIN VAN PERSIE! CLICK! CLICK! CLICK!
    Where are those jackasses who wanted him sold because he is injury prone?

  192. Oh Walcot – imagine how good he’d be with a footballing brain? The speed of thought to shield it and leave that for RVP

  193. That’s what I call team spirit. Fair play to Walcott!

  194. Who has been given the captains arm-band?

  195. viceologist
    Another superb long ball into their box from Cesc, Theo controlled with back to goal, shielded the ball and allowed RVP to run onto it from the left and nearly bust the net from close range.

  196. Great news Newcastle 1-0 Spuds :):):)

  197. Lovely!

  198. viceologist
    Constant Arsenal pressure and shooting practise with Cesc RVCP and Nasri rested. Genius tackle from Deni break out and Theo skies it.

  199. Irish – You continue to make my day. The Spuds are being found out.

  200. viceologist
    3 minutes injury time

  201. Shotta – My pleasure 🙂

  202. viceologist
    Corner last minute

  203. fantastic 😀 ^.^

  204. That’s it.

  205. I was looking Darius but I couldn’t spot the armband. I want to know now!

  206. click onto the everton v wham game for some real crazyness

  207. Spuds have tied it up, real shame that but so long as they don’t win I am happy 🙂

  208. Thanks for the updates!…great game…we absolutely dominated in every way…could have been 6 nil by the sounds of it.

  209. feel bad for arshavin, but his game will swing around soon enough. I luckily had no commentators on my stream but i could imagine the reactions when arshavin started getting involved in play. Also as someone stated it is clear the team trusts his ability, they are actively looking for him. Plus watching a tiny little russian zip around the pitch is funny for me. The defense looked great Kos and Djourou won almost every ball i remember being sent near them. I could babble on for a while about everything i took from this game, but it was a joy to watch. Up the gunners!

  210. I think it was Song Cbob

  211. Van Persie may hit 20 goals this year without playing half the damn season!

  212. W Ham are absolutely clueless. They regain the lead with minutes left through Piquionne and what does he do? He jumps in to the stands and celebrates with the fans earning himself a second yellow!!! Everton then throw everything at them and equalize in seconds!! And they blame Grant?!

  213. Song is really turning into the complete player too…the provider for the first goal and the play that led to the pen and red card…

  214. Irishgray “only” 3:0 but we’ll take it. COYG!

  215. Was he indeed Irish?

  216. Kenyan Gunner – yes a pity that but it could have been 5!! At least I get the Hat-trick right, that’s worth something no?

  217. Vantastatic.!!!!!!!Arsenal is the best team in the land. Robin is back. Havent we missed him. Barca have been warned.

  218. Cbob – not fully sure but thought I saw him with the armband. I think he has deserved it over the last few months to be honest.

  219. I don’t want Wigan to get relegated. I much rather Stoke, Birmingham and Wolves go to the Championship. The league needs footballing clubs not cloggers.

    Congrats to Robin.

  220. Look forward to watching all todays high-lights later on, enjoy the weekend boys and girls, I am off to the pub!! 🙂

  221. If we keep the following players fit, we’ll in all likelihood win the league:

    Djouroulny

    Wilsong

    Theo van Nasregas

    I’m starting to believe again. Yes, for the first season in 4 years I didn’t believe we’d win the league this season. Getting back to believing wholeheartedly. Wholeheartedly being the key word because my belief never dies.

  222. We are THE ARSENAAAAAAAAAAAL!!

  223. RVP……Click Click Click
    RVP……Clap Clap Clap
    RVP……Click Click Click
    RVP……Clap Clap Clap

    The flying Dutchman….
    ===

    And McLeish bends over to his Master following fat ass Sam. 12 goals the two teams let on.

  224. Don’t forget Clagna. He’s very important too.

  225. I agree with Ole Gunner.

  226. The bright side to McCleish being such an ass licker is the fact that they face City at home next and he’ll want to please Slur Alex by making them drop points.

  227. Great game, totally dominant performance. Fabulous to see RVP back in goal scoring form. This run of league games is the our best form on both sides of the pitch since the first part of 07/08. Great goals, great football and clean sheets.

    I would love to see us win the CC. I think Arsene did the right thing to try the 2nd team concept in the earlier cup games since on paper we should have won easily. Still not sure why it did not work. Will have to risk some of the key players in the cup game. 2/3 of RVP/CF4/Nasri need to play. Because of the away goal rule we desperately need a clean sheet so no defensive rotation possible.

    The PL title race will probably come down to 4 games. Arsenal v. ManU, Spuds vs Arsenal, ManU 2 games vs. Chelsea. Hopefully Chelsea will summon the pride to take some points from the Manc’s. We can not afford any slip ups in the other games.

  228. The obvious key to this season’s success is the fitness of our starting 11…if that group stays fit there is no team better team in the league. I also think that squad has the potential to give Barca a nice hiding…

  229. Come on Villa. A draw or a win will do.

  230. I disagree, Bill. I believe the Premier League race will come down to 30 games. Depending on how Arsenal and ManU perform in those 30 games in total, the title winner will be decided. It’s naive to say that ManU vs. Arsenal or Spuds vs. Arsenal is going to have a bigger importance than say Arsenal vs. Everton or Wolves vs. ManU. If you remember this season so far the games that cost us dearlyy have been against West Brom or Wigan, not the loss against ManU.

  231. Click Click Click…………!!!!

    Looking forward to the Barca tie now, with a lot of hope this time around. If we snatched a draw at Emirates with the younger Theo, what can’t we do with the older one?
    We’ll have a fully fit Cesc, as oppose to the half fit, limping one.
    And our new signing of course, Robin Van Persie, just when he’s starting to Click Click Click. They don’t know how to contain the midfield duo of Song and Wilshere, do they? Haven’t played against them. Biscuits will get his a55 whooped.

    And then we have the player of the season, many times the player he last was when we played them. Samir Nasri.

  232. I cannot see us achieving anything less than a convincing victory against Ipswich regardless of the side that is put out there. We will play with the urgency required from kick off…I am sure of it.

  233. Bent scores for Villa. Citeh is one nil down!

  234. City looks more vulnerable without a five man midfield. Villa look the sharper team at the moment.

  235. another northern monkey team lie down and take it up the arse for alex ferguson.

  236. Well well well

    Robin Van Persie…..clickclickclick

  237. 4 PL clean sheets in a row how happy Bill will be.

  238. Szczesny on twitter:

    “Did any of you notice that I was acctually playing today? Great result and well done”

    hahahaha

  239. I was thinking the same thing Dups…

  240. they had 1 shot on target to our 15, says it all really.

  241. Villa up 1-0!!! fingers Xed it stays this way 🙂

  242. Evil @ 5:33:

    Our course your correct. In my mind I assume the Arsenal and ManU will take care of business in the other games or at least any slip ups by either team will cancel each other out, but that is a big assumption. I still suspect the race will be close enough that the results of those games will be crucial especially the game against the Manc’s at the Emirates.

    With regard to your comment in an earlier post:

    “Of course. Overspending once is not going to put you deep in the red, but it can easily become a habit. If we overspend now, why not overspend the next time”

    I really think Arsene and the board are smart enough to control their impulses.

  243. Bill – the trouble with ‘overspending’ for a player is that it would ruin our bargaining power in future transactions.
    e.g. If we had done things the way you say we would have had to pay millions for Chamakh instead or getting him free.

    Then in the future other clubs would just up the price knowing we would overpay for the player.

  244. Can villa hang on!!?

  245. Szczesny….love his tweets. It was a great game and we should’ve won 7 or 8-0 easily. I felt the Wigan players were a bit too rough and several of our players looked hurt during the match. Poor refereeing also.

  246. I fully agree, Bill, on the impulses part. That is why we will not see overspending in January for a defender, even though some people are calling for it. The board and Arsene will keep the pockets tight and only spend if a suitable player is found for the right price.

    And why would you assume that ManU will not slip up some more? It’s not like they have been the most solid team. They have been suspect to drawing away quite a few times, even against lesser opposition. And when they won, it was usually very close (against WBA and Stoke only one goal margins). I have not seen anything in recent weeks to suggest that things are going to be any different for them in the coming games. Most fixtures only look easy on paper but, as far as I see it, Manchester have had more luck than ability this whole season, which lead to their ridiculous unbeaten run. Their luck will eventually run out and even if they do not get beaten, they will draw more games and we will be able to close the gap.

  247. Another awesome comment from the boss:

    On keeping so many clean sheets…
    We look more and more stable and defensively we were questioned a lot on that front. Maybe the fact you [reporters] ask me in every press conference ‘do I buy a defender?’ it keeps our defenders on their toes.

  248. Well done Villa. Now in second and we can extend our lead on City if we win our game in hand.

  249. ole:
    “Djouroulny

    Wilsong

    Theo van Nasregas”

    nuff said!

  250. Bill, overspending on players hasn’t helped City, Liverpool, Spurs or Chelsea and the jury is still out on Man U. What makes you think we should follow their lead?

  251. EviL:

    Hope you are right about United slipping up. No one really knows what will happen, but for purposes of planning I think you have to assume they will show the form they did in todays game rather then the tepid performances they showed at some parts of this season We can not take anything for granted. If they do slip up then so much the better but how they play is beyond our control and making assumptions that they will fall back is probably not the best way for us to plan for the rest of the season. If they win at Blackpool we are 5 points behind so we need to be nearly perfect.

  252. Bill – United have played 2 less away games than home games. Their away form is awful, just 14pts from 10 games. They have to visit us and Chelsea to as well as games against City.

  253. Bill….

    Why do you “assume” that Arsenal and ManU will take care of business against the so-called lesser teams? Is this based on precedent or is it just a feeling you have? I only ask because when I look back on last season, for instance, the game that finally killed off our challenge was a loss away to Wigan, although to be absolutely accurate our challenge died when we lost Cesc in addition to all the other injuries we had… it’s also arguable that the most significant loss that we’ve suffered as a team in the last five years was the loss to Birmingham in which Eduardo suffered his horrific injury. That loss denied us 3 points and a sublime striking talent who was all set to become an a big star. I’d even argue that if we’d won at Birmingham and hadn’t lost Eduardo in the way we did we may well have won the title that year. The following year we lost both Hleb and Flamini which set us back hugely and again it’s not too much of a stretch to see both players staying if we’d become champions. So I personally think that your assumption is a fairly misguided one… but that’s me.

  254. While the chatting, nattering media engage in their anti-Arsenal diatribes, the Gunners go about their business. Yes the tables making interesting reading. As of Saturday, 22 January 2011 19:30 there are really three teams in the races. I am tempted to say Come on Chelsea as they have a postponed game with the ManScum. But I feel dirty 🙂
    P GD PTS
    1 Man Utd 22 29 48
    2 Arsenal 23 26 46
    3 Man City 24 17 45
    4 Chelsea 22 19 38
    5 Tottenham 23 6 38

  255. Joshua:

    You are correct. As I said to Evil. I hope our team assumes that United will win nearly all of their games so we have to play each league game like the title is on the line. I think you have to assume the worst case and plan accordingly. We can not rely on anyone but ourselves since we can not control what happens in the games we do not play. Assuming they will continue to drop points away from home and mentally taking a game off here or there is probably not the best approach. They have the tougher schedule but they also have the lead so we need to catch them.

  256. 3 more goals, Robin Van Persie’s first hat trick, another clean sheet and another dominant performance… if the players keep this up the doomers are all going have to go away and support Chelsea instead and Le grove might just have shut :-). Really good game today with some outstanding performances too. This team is really, really close to being Wenger’s best ever. I know it’s a bit early to say that this team is possibly better than the invincibles but I think that it may well be proven to be the case sooner rather than later.

    It’s also interesting to note that the addition of Dzeko didn’t exactly guarantee City 3 points away to a struggling Villa… I suppose the lesson there is that football is just a teeny weeny bit more complicated than just assembling all big name players that money can buy. Whether this truism filters through to our very own buy-buy brigade is somewhat a moot point.

    Excellent result today only spoilt by the fact that Fergie had another ex-student’s team prostrate before him and let in a bucket load of goals… I make that 12 goals conceded by ‘friendly’ opposition to ManU in just 2 matches and they have a goal difference over us of 3 goals from a game less… not bad.

    On a side issue, Gerard Houllier finally appears to have said something that a lot of people think but never say out loud in the main stream media. He said that Steve Bruce’s overreaction towards houllier because of Bruce losing Darren Bent was because of Houllier being Frenchman. Now I may be misquoting Houllier but he definitely appears to have broached the subject of local managers ganging up on the foreigners like Wenger, Benitez and Houllier… especially those that Fergie considers a threat. It will be interesting to see how Houllier’s comments play in the media…

    Ever onwards and upwards. COYG!

  257. Bill…

    Fair enough. I agree that we have to be prepared mentally for every game whether home or away, against the so called big clubs or against the likes of Stoke. Pulis hates our manager’s guts and I have to say that I pray that we get a strong referee for both the home and away matches against Stoke.

    In any event I’m looking forward to the very next match and this run of matches we are going to have this month… I think that they’ll tell us a lot about both our squad depth and also our mental strength. I’m fairly confident but we have it all to do…

  258. the return of a fully fit, fully match sharp, fully firing sir van persie is a sight to behold…
    the title is between us and the manchester red sox and i said this before and i will say it again..
    we will overtake them in lat feb/early march and with any luck (fingers crossed for no injuries) we wont look back….
    this is it.this is the season….

  259. @Bill
    No one wants to see us become complacent and I hope that the mental attitude we have shown so far this January will stay with us throughout May. But to be honest — if our first team squad (+ the 3 or 4 fringe players) can stay mostly fit, I just can not see a possible dip in form for us.

  260. Evil @ 8:28:

    I do not want to go overboard, but the league form we are seeing right now is everything we have all been waiting for. Beautiful football and recently we have combined that with solid organized defending. Can not ask for anything more. We have lots of advantages, our schedule is better, CF4 and RVP did not play as many games early in the year and they should be fresh and strong for the end of the season. I think our confidence is very high. If we stay focused for the rest of the season and we have a great chance. The game against United is a potential 6 point swing so it will be huge. This is the time to pull out all the stops.

  261. Limestonegunner

    The good thing is that many of our best and most crucial players are coming into fitness and form after missing games early in this season. So RvP and Cesc should be fresh for the latter stages of the season, for example. Others like Arshavin and Chamakh, who were vital to the success of the first half of the season, at least in keeping us in a position to challenge, look jaded and out of form at the moment. I hope a bit of rest and chances to play in the cup games will allow them to start playing effectively again, since I am sure that we will need them in the stretch run.

    As I wrote a few days ago, “overpaying” is a very relative concept, which people seem to misunderstand. One could argue that we “overpayed” for Koscielny because we really needed CB’s this summer with the departures of Campbell, Silvestre, Senderos, and especially Gallas over the summer. With just a few weeks left before the season started, we had to pay L’Orient a higher than might have been expected transfer fee for Koscielny. As it is, players we identify and start to negotiate for are always immediately viewed as great value and with excellent potential because of Arsene’s reputation for spotting talent developed in the 90’s. In fact, this was one argument for building the stadium. We couldn’t continue to unearth talent on the cheap because Chelsea and others would forgo doing any of their own scouting but out bid us for any players clubs learned we were interested in. If Arsenal calls, make sure to call Chelsea (or Man U, etc…) was what directors of football across the continent had pinned up in their offices to remind themselves. So we needed to improve our revenue to purchase the players we wanted. The stadium was meant to allow us to act prudently and effectively in the transfer market and to pay players well. None of this is inconsistent with developing and nurturing young talent, as so many seem to suggest in ideological fashion. Clearly a balance must be struck and every decision fits into this search for the proper balance. This model is flexible and capable of adapting to both opportunities and needs. The money is there when the club, after some years of sacrifice, decides that it has a need. Going into the market (which by the way fluctuates and in which value is defined fluidly or at least across a potential range) when you have a need, as we have already seen this summer, makes you more vulnerable to the demands of the selling club. If this achieves your goals and does not go too far beyond Arsenal’s own valuation range for a player who is needed, the club might see advantages in buying a player who costs more than we think he should without this purchase violating some abstract and rigid laws some supporters think must exist. A philosophy is not a set of rules that chain the club, but rather an approach that guides decision-making generally but doesn’t absolve serious and critical reflection on particular cases.

    Before some commenters seize on these remarks as presumed evidence of a covert attempt to put rampant transfer purchasing on the agenda through the excuse of our shortness at CB, let me remind them that they should read more than this remark before jumping to conclusions and making accusations about the views of others. In previous posts, I suggested that we play Miquel in the Leeds FA cup 3rd round game and in the Ipswitch CC semi-final with more players from the league first 11 that has developed since the Chelsea game. I thought that with cover in the midfield, we could risk playing a current reserve in two important matches to see if he could make the step up. Obviously, I don’t know how close he was to being ready and suspect that he must not be ready if our manager decided just to keep him on the bench. But I think my attitude shows that I would like to see our current team and youth players get appropriate chances to demonstrate their talent in favor of simply buying a player elsewhere. However, I think Arsenal need to be prepared to reinforce the squad in this position where we are short right now using what resources we have prudently. Ultimately, it could be penny-wise and pound foolish not to when we are in four competitions and have the chance not only to get our first trophy in several seasons but our first several trophies in a historic season.

  262. On what grounds would you argue that we overpaid for Koscielny? When I write “overpaying” I always use the term in a very abstract way. Not in the sense of paying more than what Arsenal and Arsene value the player to be (because, obviously, you will not buy a player with your opening bid, but you will have to strike a compromise between what you want to pay and what the other club is asking for) but more as a way of relative comparison between players. For example, I see 8 – 10 million pound as about the amount we should be paying for a CB. We paid that much for Koscielny (who is not as good as Vermaelen but surely has the potential to be as good) and Vermaelen (who is, simply put, one of the best CHs in the Prem). So if Arsenal would suddenly pay, say 15 – 20 million pound for a player of Cahill or Samba calibre, which are players who, in my opinion, do not seem to be of the quality of Vermaelen or Koscielny, it is something that I would call overpaying and I sincerely hope that the club does not do something like that.
    In the end, I just want to express my sincere hope that Arsenal does not become a club that starts engaging in any kind of races with the likes of Chelsea or Manchester City when it comes to buying players. It would be a shame if we would ever become a club that readily buys players for 20+ million pounds because that would be totally against our model of a sustainable club.

  263. There is no need for such a long post Limestonegunner, everybody knows the score. We have a depleted and threadbare squad with a penny pinching money who puts je ne sais quoi before trophies. The evidence today was that several players are on their way out at arsenal. Rosicky, Squillachi, Bendtner, Diaby, Denilson and Arshavin need to be moved on and reinforcements searched for. How we are going to do that I do no know. We have apparently this large scouting network, but all we ever get from them are 2nd rate french players and players in an embryonic state. We need a proper scouting network of people who can identify non french fully grown adult males who are going to win us trophies. Not players who are going to be shipped abroad while we fund their education. The squad at arsenal is like a house of cards, remove the bottom card, and the whole foundation collapses. That’s why we need to bring in quality. Arguing about transfer philosophy and haggling over price is not going to change this. There are many quality players available for £25 million, but Wenger does not see this. He seems to believe there is an inverse correlation between quality and transfer price, which is totally perverse. In my book, the higher the valuation, the more we should get excited. Case in point – Darren Point, who has already delivered a return on the £24 million pound investment. Wenger does not realise this, which is why he is a small time operator. It does not matter if other clubs see us coming – they know who we are, they see us on TV twice a week and they know what our team bus looks like. When we fax our bid – they go “ho ho” – it’s arsenal – let’s put the price up. There is nothing that can change this. We may as well just pay the money – penny wise, pound foolish. By shipping the dead wood in the squad we will have a budget of around £80 million – see – we don’t have a bad squad, so we have a lot of options in the transfer market with that kind of dough. Subotic, Hazard, Samba – all these players would be within reach – and we would be able to afford their £150k a week wages. Simple economics. But the professor doesn’t see this.

  264. We’ve been fed that Manure are winning without playing well, assuming there are yet to start playing, that is according to so called expert who have seen it all before, yes the same people who said Chelsea will run away with it. What if I say this is the best this Manure side can offer and nothing more. their first defeat will be a tricky one for them and possibly we will hand it to them at the Emirates. I might be biased but I just feel this united side is average they rode their luck on many occasions and they will not get any better, if anything it will catch up with them . The year we went unbeaten we were awesome, nothing like this Manure side. They will possibly have their bad patch and hopefully we will take adavantage of it.

    I noticed this year that the term ‘get in their faces’ is rarely used when it comes to Arsenal. Earlier in the season they kicked us and we kicked them back harder. we received few red cards and everyone got the message, it is not working anymore. This team has matured they look stronger and fitter.

  265. Muppet, alas, not everyone understands so well as you.

  266. Delia---Block 112

    Came away from the Emirates feeling elated. We never got out of second gear , didn’t have to ,Wigan were toothless. I was surprised AW didn’t withdraw Nasri earlier. Samir had been kicked around the park throughout the game and he was obviously in some discomfort. Theo had a nightmare of a game , his decision making was again suspect and why , when completely through, didn’t he shoot instead of making a totally unnecessary pass.We were all bewildered.The score hardly reflects the chances we created and were it not for the exploits of Al Habsi in goal we could easily have had six. RVP was in imperious form and fully deserved to be MOTM. Roll on Tuesday.
    As always COYRs

  267. Delia, I thought Cesc was really being manhandled throughout the match and the ref was completely unwilling to protect our players. Theo seems to combine well with Cesc and RvP though. He made a great decision to shield the ball after bringing it down so well and letting RvP smash it in. Sure, I think he might have shot when through on goal but tonight we had no difficulty getting shots and people were taking them. Habsi was great and some of our finishing wasn’t so ruthless at times or it would have been an eye-popping scoreline.

  268. Limestonegunner | January 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    When did you decide we overpaid for Koscielny? Is that based on the doomers and pundits deciding from day 0ne that he was lightweight and ill-suited for the BPL, long before he kicked a ball in anger.? The hottest defensive property in ligue for 2009-10 is not worth 10 million but samba and Cahill are worth 20 million. How did you arrive at that valuation?
    As Muppet concluded at 9:45 pm, in his best le-shite impression, you are obviously from the school that “Subotic, Hazard, Samba – all these players would be within reach – and we would be able to afford their £150k a week wages. Simple economics. But the professor doesn’t see this.”

  269. Wenger NEVER overpays. He has a price and NEVER goes above. If he thinks player X is worth 10 million he will try 8 million (or less) first but never 12.

  270. I am slightly disappointed by Martinez comments about Cesc. He says that our captain bought a penalty and was cheating. I think everyone can see it in the replay for themselves that Caldwell is just unable and even if you want to play the ball, if you clumsily take down a player like that, you are the only person to blame. And especially considering the dive in the fixture at the DW stadium, it is borderline disgraceful by Martinez to accuse Cesc of anything when there was clear contact. My high valuation of Martinez as a manager and person will have to suffer from this and I am not a 100% sure if I want him and his club to stay up after a comment like that.

  271. Limestonegunner,

    I wasn’t commenting on your post, but after reading it, my only comment is that I do not believe there is a rigid philosophy of only sourcing players at an economic prize that ensures we are sustainable to the extent that it only serves the purpose of being sustainable and nothing else. I think that the absence of a signing points to a dearth of players being available, and nothing else. Wenger has always said that if the right player is available then he will acquire him as we have the money. I don’t see any evidence that this shouldn’t be the case. Yes, there is financial prudence, but I think the football ambition goes beyond that. Questioning a bunch of highly intelligent directors, chief executives and the arsenal manager on this point to me is a pretty fatuous exercise, no disrespect to you.

  272. sorry – I meant price, not prize.

  273. BREAKING NEWS** ARSENAL SIGN CHAMBERLAIN FOR £10M**MAIL ON SUNDAY

  274. Well… that means it’s probably not true David.

  275. @ Muppet
    AW said as much – that lots of defenders had been offered to him, but none had “clicked” in his head.

    Plus he appears to be in two minds about whether to buy at all, seeing as we’re not short on numbers, just fit players.

  276. FunGunner,

    Yes.. he does seemed to have altered his stance fairly rapidly. It might be that he has received reassurances about Vermaelen, or that he is very confident now about Djourou’s on going availabilty in light of his previous injury concerns.

  277. The mail on sunday reporter Rob Draper has good contacts at Arsenal and he say he will even sign on wednesday

  278. We have as much chance as signing Neville Chamberlain.

  279. I can’t believe Martinez said that. Here I was thinking they shouldn’t go down because he is a good manager and Wigan are a footballing side. Now they can drop off to league one for all I care. Plus their pitch is shit.

  280. G69 – still rather them than Stoke, Brum, Blackburn or Wolves.

  281. Muppet, it can’t be disrespect to me as I haven’t questioned them. My argument is with supporters as I think was clear in my post. It was also against the dichotomous thinking that led Joshua a couple nights ago to make some foolish assumptions about my position and for Shotta to repeat the same tonight, I am afraid.

  282. What is Martinez complaining for RVP missed the pelanty (Waddle) anyway.

  283. It takes a bit of nuance, but if one reads carefully, it should be possible to notice that in fact I don’t believe we “overpaid” for Koscielny, precisely because I don’t think there are static, de-contextualized values. As I said, we needed a CB and he is quality. Interesting are the figures everyone throws out when suggesting we shouldn’t “overpay” for Cahill etc… Do any of us actually know the figures being demanded? Is anyone privy to the negotiations? It seems pretty irrelevant to the discussion as they are entirely hypothetical and ancillary to the point I was making. But I guess it was just too nuanced. Much more fun to just dismiss the argument by presuming what someone’s views are!

    We all know transfers are complex and just because we are looking doesn’t mean we will find the right player. But some seem to object to the idea that the club should be looking aggressively for a CB or pay xx million or whatever it is because that would be “overpaying.” if we can afford it, if the manager thinks it will help rhe club in an area of need and sees an opportunity that is worth it, the concept of “overpaying” doesn’t make sense, just as in the case of Koscielny, no matter what the pundits and papers say or what the market averages/standard calculations would suggest. That was in fact my point.

  284. Limestonegunner

    Evil, I heard those comments and was pretty appalled as well. Completely gratuitous, but an obvious attemp to deflect attention from the fact that his team were so outclassed that the 3-0 scoreline was a mocking travesty. Unlike Wigan’s reputation under Martinez, They came to foul as soon as they realized they couldn’t play. There were at least three yellow card fouls committed on Cesc that weren’t called, one against Nasri, and so on. Clearly Martinez has learned how to survive in the PL. Rough up technical sides and make ludicrous claims about foreigners. I don’t know but would he have said that about serial divers Rooney and Gerrard?

  285. Dups = Neville Chamberlian didn’t have a very good record of signng anything worthwhile, so perhaps not a great example.

  286. MDGunner – I understand but David posted:

    “BREAKING NEWS** ARSENAL SIGN CHAMBERLAIN FOR £10M**MAIL ON SUNDAY”

    Hence my, “We have as much chance as signing Neville Chamberlain.”

    He is dead so very little chance of signing him.

  287. Bit confusing I know – sorry.

  288. One doesn’t have to be a fortune teller to know that Cahill will cost big bucks, Lime. Bolton are sixth in the league and Cahill is an England international. When one sees what players in similar circumstances as he are going for it’s practically assured that he’ll cost the same amount of money.

  289. Man U Shited play their game-in-hand on Tuesday against Blackpool. Let us just hope Berbatov catches whatever Shrek has and stops scoring, bastard’s doing great this season. Oh yea before I forget, well done Darren Bent!!! 🙂

  290. Limestone…

    I think that you end up writing these long posts because you’re not quite sure what you think, I may well be wrong but that’s essentially how I see it. For example if you say that we “overpaid” for Kosceilny… you must MEAN that there’s a REAL sense in which we actually paid more than the guy is worth. An argument can’t be so nuanced as to be devoid of its essential meaning…. you clearly don’t mean that we overpaid in some vague abstract sense because it’s either something that is concrete or it is mostly irrelevant, wouldn’t you agree?

    If you accept that there’s not a static and immutable value for something like a football player then I fail to see how a player who had a fantastic season in Ligue 1, was highly rated by Wenger and when a comparable player in England is being quoted at 20m can be said to have been bought for too much money. Surely all the determinants for his price point to us getting a very fair deal? Is there a player in England this season who was bought for less that is doing better than Kosceilny?

    My point here is that it is odd for you to blame commenters for reading exactly what you wrote and then pointing out the flaws in your reasoning. Language is flexible up to a point but it cannot be stretched beyond what is reasonable … that’s when we slip into mere sophistry. There’s no realistic argument you can make that can show that Kosceilny was “overpriced” given what we know about the deal… of course there’s always the possibility that you have access to more information, in which case let’s hear it. Simply put, IMHO, “overpriced” is not quite the right expression to use for whatever idea you are trying convey as regards Kosceilny’s value.

  291. McLeish apparently rested several regulars from his side against ManU because he wanted them fresh for the Carling Cup against West Ham… that can’t be right? Is McLeish saying that he’d take a Carling Cup final over staying in the EPL?? Weird one that, I hope Birmingham go down…

  292. I agree with Joshua. Birmingham were a disgrace. A team that has successfully parked the bus against us went in against Man U playing like a sunday league team with a huge hangover. So much for this so called parity between all premiership teams now. Not on that showing.

  293. morning
    after reading through last nights comments i find myself in agreement with limestone….
    although my reasons are different…
    with the money now involved in the game, due to sponserships etc and also the stupid transfer fees that utd, chelsea, citeh and at one point even blakcburn have spent over the years the market is totally inflated…
    kozz isnt worth the money we paid for him, not when you consider we got sol for free…
    nasris not worth 12.5…not when you consider we gor pires for 6…
    its just the way the games gone
    i mean….bent is no way worth 25mil…but villa had to pay it, not becuase hes english, but because out of all the PL current strikers (not including the ones wjo have reired) bent is up there with the most clinical..i think hes up there with rooney and drogba on PL goals scored in total over his career…82???
    and when citeh are paying 20+mil for tevez and dzecko, utd are paying 30 for rooney and berba and chelsea are paying 20 for drogba,…..how much does that make bent worth????
    you see….
    i guess all it does is make you realise who wonderful arsene wenger is at doing what hes doing..every player is over priced..not one is worth the money that gets paid,
    cesc isnt worth 50mil, no player is, no player, but when rm are spunking 50m on kaka and 90 on ronaldive it inflates the price….
    but we have a manager who realises this and will look for players who he can get for a decent price, we just have to trust him
    koz looks the mutts after a few dodgy performaces, he will gain consistencey with PL experience…i was a doubter in his ability, but now im a believer….

  294. You are preaching to the converted JonJon.

  295. just my opinion muppet…not preaching mate just my opinion…..
    you make me laugh by the way…

  296. No no.. “preaching to the converted” – it is a saying – it means people will be in agreement… it’s not accusing you of preaching.

    Make you laugh ? that’s just as well…

  297. JonJon… we didn’t get Sol on a free, I never understand why some folks never include the player’s wage packet in their transfer calcs. If you calculate what we paid in wages to Sol he was waaaaaaay more expensive that Kosceilny over the life of his contract. Sol was only “free” in that Spurs got nothing for him. Even if we take your argument at face value you’d have to be saying that unless we get a CB on a free transfer then that player is overpriced… can that even begin to be a logical or coherent argument? Was Kolo overpriced at 250k just because Sol arrived on a free then? Or is Sol now overpriced because we sold Kolo for 15m making a profit of over 14m on our initial investment?

    Kosceilny wasn’t overpriced… we needed a CB with a certain profile and Kosceilny fitted that profile, the question as to his price is then one of how many other players fitted the profile of what we needed at the time and what was their comparative prices. In my way of thinking that is the only coherent way of valuing a player… if Kosceilny was available on a free transfer next season and we had someone like Gallas available but still went ahead and signed Kosceilny then what you say would begin to make sense but that isn’t the case is it? We needed Kosceilny and what we paid was entirely reasonable given the quality of the player and our need for a CB… in those circumstances I fail to understand how anyone can say that the guy was “overpriced”. Arsenal do not exist in a vacuum and as such we are as susceptible to market forces as anyone else…

  298. Muppet, teams have been rminded through the media that you can’t win at old Traford or I should say you are not allowed and the refrees will make sure you don’t win, its been like that for years. psychologically teams go there already defeated, Birmingham were no different, with the league cup in midweek they thought “sod it”. You could see they were simply conserving their energy for league cup game. I can’t wait for the Mancs to come to the Emirates, lets just hope we have the full squad available.I have a good feeling about that game.

  299. lol sorry muppet..understood..
    joshua..i was only talking about transfer fees mate of course he was offered a huge salary and a huge signing on fee but thats only because he was ‘free’
    i do agree though
    i hate it when ppl say omg citeh have signed dzecko why cant wenger get torres or pele or marradonna
    we have 70mil its doable…
    it isnt…after the transfer fee theres also the 10mil in agent fee and the 10mil signing on fee and the 30mi in wages he gets paid…

  300. 1 loose cannon,

    It is an absolute disgrace. It makes my blood boil. Wasn’t it Wolves that went up there last year with a reserve team ? 3 more charity points gifted to united.

    And did you see that open goal miss by one of the birmingham players. The FA should be investigating if that wasn’t collusion with a betting syndicate. He had just to tap it in from 1 yard ffs, and he completely missed.

  301. 1 loose cannon…

    I think you have a point but there’s also a kind of weird loyalty thing with Fergie’s ex-pupils and friends. Bruce, Allardyce, Pulis and the like appear not to even try at Old Trafford. In their own stadia in front of the fans of their respective clubs it’s a bit different but away at Old trafford we appear to get this same thing season after season. The only ex-Fergie pupil who appears to be keen to defeat him at OT is Mark Hughes. May be it’s just my reading of these things as an Arsenal fan but for me the Birmingham, Blackburn results of this season are all a bit too predictable.

  302. teams have been bending over for the mancs for years…
    but weve taken titles from them before we will do it again..
    we just need to concentrate on us…..

  303. Truly disgraceful comments by Martinez. I hope he loses his job. The extension of the smear by the Daily Mail journalist is both predictable and despicable.

    I agree, Joshua and 1lc. The desire to capitulate might be unconscious, but the circumstances are suspicious!

  304. martinez = sour grapes..
    nothing more than a sore loser
    hes become used to us ‘gifting’ him points last few times weve played wigan..
    hes just pissed cos we pulled his pants down and when he pulled them up they were in a twist..fuck him…

  305. And despite his blathering on about Cesc “looking for contact”, wasn’t the penalty given for shirt-pulling?

  306. Martinez goes on my list.

  307. Martinez is just being stupid. Nzogbia blatantly dived for the penalty that led to their first goal when we drew up there, Kosceilny made no contact whatsoever with Nzogbia… I didn’t hear a peep out of him then. I can take his kind of preachy twaddle from a man who consistently condemns all simulation but he pocketed the points that his player earned by clearly foul means whilst bemoaning a more than nailed on penalty and sending off. That’s just silly IMHO.

    I have to say that I quite like Martinez ordinarily but the guy is clearly under pressure to deliver for a two bit club with very few supporters. Martinez in charge of Birmingham or Sunderland would produce a cracking side… in charge of Wigan he is metaphorically pissing in a hurricane.

  308. 3 – GOALS
    3 – POINTS

    CLEAN SHEET

    Aaargh!

  309. Dgob

    It sounds as if your sheets are no longer clean. Still take a chance to read today’s post before you change them:

    https://aculturedleftfoot.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/arsenal-waltz-to-victory-over-wigan/

    YW

  310. Joshua, You argue vehemently against me in order to come to the same conclusion as I have. I can only wonder who is really confused here or if it is just a matter of bad faith in your response again. First I was a member of the evil buy-buy brigade who wasn’t sincere about the issue and now I am confused and a perpetrator of linguistic abuse!

    At least we can agree that Birmingham was a disgrace, and this cabal of English/British mangers is threatening the integrity of the competition. As if the refereeing situation wasn’t bad enough!

  311. YW,

    Oops, already changed them.

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