Jack’s Having A Carling Whilst Ramsey’s Loan Is Right Up His Street

A bit later than expected today, problems with broadband and wireless (dis)connections still not resolved so into work we’ve come today just to write this post. The suffering I go through…not as much as Birmingham City will hopefully be put through in the Carling Cup Final.

A bizarre sidetrack were the comments of David Sullivan yesterday who declined attending last night’s match not on the grounds of being hated by Birmingham City but that he could not ‘bear the journey back having lost to that lot‘, a comment designed to endear himself to those ‘Appy ‘Ammers who did make the journey back…

Back to Arsenal, which is where we’re supposed to be. Little Jack Wilshere – backed by Arsène – began the talk of winning trophies again,

We need to bring that back into the football club – this is a big football club and we need trophies. Any trophy is a trophy and if we can win one in February, it will give us confidence for the rest of the season.

It would be massive for the Club – any trophy is a trophy and it has been five years since we won our last one. We know that if we win one, hopefully it’ll come along, and then it’ll open up more for us.

Those feelings echo the view of many supporters. It would be unusual if having won a trophy, it did not come along. The occasion would be rather like a birthday party without the birthday boy or girl in attendance. By making the observation, Wilshere is admitting that this tournament is having a positive impact on the squad.

With the maturity of the younger players, Wenger has been able to select a strong XI for each tie. This is a surprise to media observers, it has not been unusual for them to state that Wenger is taking the Carling Cup more seriously because he is fielding stronger sides. The problem is that Wenger has to field stronger sides because that is the squad at his disposal. It is extremely difficult for him to field a weak side. A disjointed and unbalanced one, yes. Weaker, no.

Yet there is a danger that having beaten Birmingham twice this season, complacency will creep into the squad. The patience shown in Tuesday’s victory may need to be replicated as Birmingham have little inclination in making the game exciting by pushing forwards constantly. They will just be pushing. And stamping. And kicking. As is normal for them.

One player who may turn up at Wembley for a first appearance in the competition is Aaron Ramsey. The Welsh international’s return to Cardiff was a little disappointing as it seemed to me that the cup runs were the ideal platform for him to gain his fitness whilst in an Arsenal shirt.

Ramsey believes that the loan spell might be more beneficial,

If going out on loan again for a month to get a few more games helps me get back into shape quicker and into the Arsenal team then I will do that. I just want to get back to playing regularly and get back into the Arsenal team as quickly as I can.

Had Eduardo been given a loan spell following his injury perhaps things might have turned out differently. Certainly the familiar surroundings of his former club might be helpful, close to family who can encourage him along the way. Returning to Arsenal in February will be good timing with the Champions League and other competitions requiring Arsène to rotate the squad.

It is a long road back for Ramsey and in midfield where tackles fly in, a hard one. Playing in a more physical league such as The Championship will be helpful as much mentally as physically. To return to the level he was showing before Shawcross’ assault, his battle is as much in his mind as with his body. Ramsey will need to prove to himself that he can ride a strong challenge without ill-effect.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on January 27, 2011, in Arsenal, Carling Cup, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 284 Comments.

  1. I can’t possibly be first?

  2. From the last thread….

    Just to be clear, I agree with Ole earlier in that I think people (few of which I’ve noticed on this blog) who criticize Denilson for passing sideways or not contributing enough to our attack are clueless.

    It probably means they wouldn’t want any of Xavi or Busquest either whose games are pretty much similar.

    Ok enough about Denilson now..

  3. I’m surprised by how much I hate Birmingham. More than Stoke or Sunderland or the other unreconstructed cloggers. I can’t believe West Ham caved to them. We’ll have to destroy them.

    I would disagree that Wenger has to field sides as strong as he has. The side we put out the other night had an entire spine of first choice players (first choice being the only choice in defense). We haven’t done that in years, even in the final.

  4. Oh my kingdom to be as wise as you

    RE: Just to be clear, I agree with Ole earlier in that I think people (few of which I’ve noticed on this blog) who criticize Denilson for passing sideways or not contributing enough to our attack are clueless. It probably means they wouldn’t want any of Xavi or Busquest either whose games are pretty much similar
    —–
    Xavi doesn’t exclusively pass sideways of backwards, he does if there isn’t an attacking ball on… sure you can’t open up a defence every ball and sometimes nothing better is on – but Denilson exclusively deals in backwards and sideways. That’s the difference. And the difference with Busquets is he’s ten times better defensively, his job isn’t to create (though he also does that better than Denilson). Guess I’m clueless then as is every other football fan I know personally – and I know a lot, guys that play fotoball not fat layabouts that think devoting their life to following a team means they understand the game.

  5. Yes Nola, I can’t stand Birmingham for the style of football they play. Can’t blame Hleb for speaking out, and to be honest if we had space, I would happily take him back in a heartbeat, but I cannot regret his leaving because of the team we have now. Arshavin, I will sing your name until my voice goes hoarse.

    I was quite disappointed that West Ham couldn’t find it within themselves to play better, although Upson went Hulked out in his defending. He played his heart out yesterday.

    But alas, we must destroy Birmingham.

  6. Nola

    Look at the squad – Wenger does not have options with players out on loan. The strength in depth in this squad is such that he has to field a strong line-up.

    YW

  7. I only have two friends, one of which likes Denilson and the other supports him anyway because he wears the Arsenal shirt. Having said that both of my friends are fat so this comment is probably worthless. Appologies for wasting your time.

  8. Troll, they say you can judge a man by the company he keeps…

    Although I know this not to be explicitly true. A good friend of mine is in a relationship with a pretty decent dude, but his friends are all a bunch of knobends. I keep waiting for him to prove that statement true, but I’ve been waiting for near on 2 years now.

    And troll, Lee Bowyer also knows a lot of ‘footballers’ so I don’t reallly gt your point

  9. In a sense I agree a bit with the view that Arsene is taking the Carling cup a bit more seriously now.

    Not that I think he’s well publicized view of the cup has changed (he said once that the CC isn’t even a proper trophy), but more in the hope that winning it will 1) get the hacks of his back and 2) give the players that bit more belief in themselves.

    In the first few games of the CC tournament, I like many on here, when guessing the team sheets were throwing names out like Eastmond, JET, Vela, Coquelin, Nordveit, Randall etc. Instead it turned out Lansbury was the only real ‘youngster’ that featured.

  10. I would agree with YW that complacency is our biggest enemy in the final, assuming there’s no injury crisis or something.

  11. Last word on Denilson … people spouting negatory tirades against the lad display lack of knowledge, recent memory and understanding of the tactical nous applied by Wenger in a modern game. It’s barely worth trying to prove what I just said, because I learnt most of it right here on this site (except the bit about the tactical side, which is evident watching on the field).

    Much depends how you ‘see’ football, with your head, your heart, both, or your other bits (which tends to cancel the head), or just your Arsenal shirt.

    Certainly Denilson is a massive prospect, with a history that fits that pattern exactly (captained age group Brazil sides throughout, which is a most telling fact), his positional sense is very advanced for his age, but for me what I ‘see’ is a player who has an awful lot of heart. He sometimes gets tossed about a bit by the ‘grunts’ of the game, but rarely misses a thinking pass. He’s also improved noticeably and consistently in two years of regular first team games. His display against Barcelona summed him up, as did his heroics the season before last (with Song). He is a guy you can call on.

    Then again, he gets compared to Wee Jackie, who is nothing less than a marvel. In some respects, Denilson is better (oh, man, I can hear the groans all the way here) in that he is a little more steady, more poised and more ready to distribute; in other ways Jackie is better, his ‘drive’ and movement on the ball, his exquisite left footedness, startling in one so young.

    That’s it.

  12. I’m fat and I play football and I think Denilson is the bollocks.can I have a biscuit?

  13. “– but Denilson exclusively deals in backwards and sideways. That’s the difference”

    Ole Gunner | January 26, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    ” 33% of Denilson’s passes are forward compared to 29% for the average midfield player”

    Bang goes your argument dear friend.

  14. YW,

    Agreed that the must field a strong side. When he rotated 8 out, it was still very strong. But I what’s drawn the commentary is how often he’s selected first choice players (RvP, Cesc, Jack the other night). But I could be wrong, is that the first time he’s done that this year?

  15. There is a fucking idiot section of our support with no patience for a passing move. They curse and shout for us to be more direct, and to shoot from bizarre and unlikely positions on the pitch. This lot have no time at all for Denilson; visibly deflating when he gets the ball, ‘fucken Denilson’ they mutter. When he makes a tackle or a good pass a big cheer goes up, as it would for any other Arsenal player – but for this selection of idiots it’s not good enough and the hands stay in pockets. This isn’t about slagging off or demonizing; it’s the mild disdain shown to someone they believe to be ‘average’, ‘decent at best’, ‘just a squad player’, ‘too sideways’, ‘not Brazilian enough’, ‘you’re not going to make a difference – give it to Cesc’.

    In pressure situations that mild disdain switches very, very quickly into ugly, spittle-flecked, finger-pointing and fist-shaking. “Denilson you FUCKIN mug, Get FORWARD!” At its worst (we’re seeing it with fave scapegoat #23 at the moment) this very vocal impatience debilitates and shackles a player’s decision-making and chokes their courage to be spontaneous… blunting our most powerful weapon – our quick passing. You can see it happen right before your eyes. This for me is when I want to start tearing the heads off each and every shit fan we have.

    What you read informs your opinion; and if shitheads read shit opinions they share it in the pub before the game and in the stands with other shitheads. So when you read the same old shite being perpetuated online… it’s not a massive stretch to see the two interlinked… in fact it’s no stretch at all, they both feed into each other.

    Anyway… for me it’s more about the fact that I don’t really like football fans who don’t appreciate good football and good footballers. Like I say, they’re fucking idiots and it’s sad really because this wonderful, expressive game of football is playing out in front of them and all they want is for someone to crash-bang-wallop it up into the mixer and some lionhearted John Terry type to nut it in the onion bag at the back stick.

  16. Please no Denilson banter today…urgh!!!

  17. Just posting an opinion btw, no offence intended.

    …oh dear, ZP’s had the last word on Denilson… and as usual puts it much more nicely than I.

  18. It’s not so much Birmingham that irks the loins as their manager who is for football what ‘The Spice Girls’ were for good music, or Macdonalds is for old-fashioned home-cooked food. Makes you sick and instantly forgetable.

  19. Denilsondenilsondensildensilon densilsslabdenedendendendenilson!

  20. I’d rather we had West Ham in the final to be honest. Avram shouldn’t have put his scarf on at half time! Did anyone see if he through it away at the end?

  21. Can someone close the Denilson argument already!!!!!

  22. Didn’t I just do that M’Lady?

  23. I believe like some other have said, that Denilson does some things very well indeed. Keeping posession, intercepting play, positional sense etc. But I also believe his current position in the midfield pecking order is justified i.e. he is overall not as good as Cesc, Wilshere or Song. But he is at least as good as other midfielders playing in the first team of many other clubs, particularly in countries like Spain and Italy where his lack of physicality and aggression is not nearly as important

  24. Oops sorry ZP, didnt realise you had ‘adjourned’ the Denilson debate 🙂

  25. Nicely put LA. I have certainly noticed some of those fucking idiots you speak about. Thankfully they are substantially out-numbered and manage to embarrass themselves at every game I go to. Hopefully one day they will be so ashamed that they will fuck off altogether and let the more knowledgeable and passionate supporters have a go.

  26. Thanks, mattyboy. We can only hope.

  27. Good news people! I was consulting the Gadget’s Guide to the Universe, and I have it on good authority that Rosario Dawson, my future wife no less, becomes an Arsenal supporter once I woo her.

    Just need to get in the same room as her.

    Given that Emirates is the best pitch in the country I thin the FA should do the right thing and hold the final at Emirates

  28. Btw, is anyone able, or planning to go to Wembley? I wonder, given our ticket allocation, what the chances are of me laying my hands on one. The £84 price is putting me off somewhat, but if I manage to get the cheaper priced ones then it shall be my first trip back to the new place, which is quite exciting in itself.

  29. BlueNose – you absolute cunt. You deserve to be smashed to tiny fucking pieces, then pissed all over by Lee Bowyer and Alex Mcleishe’s love child. Cunt.

  30. OK Henristic, that’s one transgression too many from you. Now look here, you can’t keep playing after the final whistle, and that’s all there is to it. The Denilson debate is closed. He has been declared a star by popular acclaim AND by wise heads. Game over. Officially. Done. Dusted. Finito. No more. That’s it. Kaput. C’est tout. Finis. Over-ka-dover. The End.

  31. Geo – That sounds like the Birmingham City Christmas party you have just described 🙂

  32. I detest the mischieviousness of trolls, as did Thor. He had the right idea in dealing with trolls: smite them with Mjolnir.

    Where is that damn hammer?

  33. Oh dear – was having a nice time until that. Know we shouldn’t react etc., but what a prick.

  34. Gadget, get hold of Scotty and just beam her up.

  35. Great more fools.

  36. And here I was about to write something all positive… Arg!

    Where’s the massive spam stick YW?? Can’t be dealing with venomous pricks like that…

    Anyway, great posts Limpar & Zim.

  37. Oh dear, how uncouth.

    Glory glory Aston Villa and all that. I guess Birmingham are the Spuds of the region.

  38. they are just vile arent they?

  39. I know many ex-footballers that have a questionable understanding of the game. Doesn’t mean their not entitled to their opinion.

    This term “AKB” seems to be a lightning rod for a specific group of Arsenal fans that disagree with his tactics, player selection, line ups, etc. Our manager may not know the best, but he sure knows better than any fan. ANY FAN! Does he make mistakes? Of course! Do his players fail to execute? Of course!

    There are very few managers in this sport that have ‘his eye’ for spotting talent. There is a reason Arsene has invested so much playing time for Denilson…….Arsene sees something special.

    What type of player was Xavi (who just turned 30) at 22 ? Not any better than Denilson.

    Denilson turns 23 in a few weeks, just as Bendtner only turned 23. Song, Wilshere, Gibbs, Diaby, Cesc, Nasri, Djourou, Ramsey, Theo….ALL are still
    2 – 5 years from reaching their prime.

  40. I do wish London wasn’t such a dump. And all those inbreds… must be something to do with the stagnant population we’ve got going on here. No variety, no diversity, that’s the problem. Dull, dull, dull here in London. What a dump.

  41. I marvel at the power of anonymity. How it make cowards bold and weak feel strong. How hard a mouse, it must feel like a gun.

  42. oops!!Paul already did

  43. Hey I didn’t even realise I was a cockney. Cool!

    In any event I’m of to a place called Bimnghm to look for a chap called Arseneisapaedo, funny old name, foreign I guess; to remove his head, since he doesn’t need it, and give it to Frank as a gift.

  44. Which Scotty are we talking about ZP? The 2009 one is a bit too weird and I don’t think he has the power. Something about crystals or what not. I guess I’ll have to leave it to fate…

    or stalking.

    I’m kidding, really, I swear, stalking, not for me, yeah.

  45. Some people just want to heard…

    Yecal and co, find somewhere else to spit your bile

  46. Yogi put the house in order!!!

  47. Make sure you use a hammer ZP. Have to get Norse on these fools, nahmean?

    Failing that we can invoke the spirit of Omar Little

  48. Hello, hello. If I’m not mistaken we have just been officially contacted by the Birmingham City manager no less. The voice patterns, unmistakeable.

  49. … or … they all related! Of course, silly old me.

  50. Oh I see, ZP. My first instinct were that Gray and Keyes were bored of Facebook…

  51. What really worries me about the Carling Cup Final is that we will be playing the Birmingham Thugs sandwiched between two games against Barcelona. Will Wenger possibly sacrifice a trophy by putting out a second string against those cloggers for fear of losing key players through injury when we play in the Nou Camp? Or does he go for broke and hope the big Wembley pitch will knacker the filthy Brummy Scum? Glad I ain’t the manager, the quandary is doing my head in.

  52. Zigic is our only threat

    They have imrpoved with the likes of Hleb and Bentley but this may mean they actually try and take us on, which will play into our hands.

    I can’t see anything than us passing them off the pitch.

  53. AIP. “Big and better neighbours in the West” ? Should that be East. Off to Stratford with ya now!!

  54. I love Denilson. And I love the Selecao as well. My favourites after the Kenyan and Nigerian teams. I love the Brazilians so much that I even like Ramires – who the Brazilians call “Quinano azul.” It translates as “Blue Kenyan.” I’m darker than his Blue. But I just can’t bring myself to like Manutd’s Anderson. He annoys me!

  55. Denilson is same age as Gibson and Anderson in Man U? I would prefare Denny any day of the week.

  56. Poodle add me to that list.

  57. “Wenger has to field stronger sides because that is the squad at his disposal. It is extremely difficult for him to field a weak side. A disjointed and unbalanced one, yes. Weaker, no.”
    Absolutely, YW.

    “The Welsh international’s return to Cardiff was a little disappointing as it seemed to me that the cup runs were the ideal platform for him to gain his fitness whilst in an Arsenal shirt.”
    Disagree here – not as many games, surely, in comparison with playing week in week out for Cardiff?

    @ Block 4
    I posted a response to your comments on the previous blog post, but briefly, if you accept that AW’s opinion is worth more than us fans’ on the basis of his greater knowledge and insight, then logically you also accept that some fans’ opinions are worth more than others on the same basis. I don’t claim to know how much knowledge commenters have, I simply state the fact that some fans know more than others, some fans are more perceptive than others. Everyone is free to think what they like – that doesn’t mean everyone’s thoughts are equally worthwhile or interesting or insightful.

    @ Henristic
    about “kicking the players’ asses” – management of the players is Wenger’s job, not ours. He knows them best and knows what works for them.
    I also responded to your Denilson comments on the last blog – just to say that the people shotta was having a go at are those like oh my kingdom…, whom you challenged – ie those who refuse to recognise his good points even when the evidence is put in front of them.

    @ Limpar Assist at 12:15pm
    Love it!

    @ Jaygooner
    That worries me, too! Their natural tendencies plus the occasion could bring out the worst in Brum.

  58. It looks like they let one of the Birmingham fans out on weekend release a bit early. It’s not Richard Keys is it?

  59. The mental aspect of Ramsey’s recovery is more about his long-term career prospects if he gets hurt rather than the fear of getting hurt itself. That’s why Arsene has a policy of putting a severely injured player on a new long term contract. It’s a guarantee that any player who sacrifices his body for the cause will not be putting themselves at a finacial disadvantage. Very noble of the club and important for the players to know.

    If anything Ramsey will take a lot of positives from Eduardo’s experiences. Still earning good money and playing top level football.

  60. I see Andy Gray and Richard Keys were on here earlier. Nice.

  61. Hopefully Ramsey will come back just as strong. He was really pushing for a birth in the start 11 when he got injured.

  62. Denilson is not the best player @ Arsenal, but must you guys try to kill his confidence at every opportunity?! The guy is still young and he is a good squad player to have, I believe he will eventually be an excellent player. So lay off him cus I don’t think Arsene intends to sell him anyways.

  63. He already had a berth in the starting 11, as I recall.

    Good point about the mental aspect, Markus. I feel Ramsey is in a better position than Eduardo because he is younger.

  64. @Fungunner, I did see your previous reply. I accept that if I knew one of the posters was, for instance, Gus Hiddink, then yes, I would pay more attention to him because of his proven background in football. My point is that if you cannot verify that background or knowledge you cannot resonably say that one poster’s opinion is worth more than anothers just becuase you may hold a similar view to yourself. In that case, surely when it eventually comes to the point where you disagree about something then you must by your logic defer to their superior knowledge or insight? Doesn’t sound like a climate for any kind of constructive debate.

    Interesting is something else entirely, there are posters whose contributions bore me to tears (I realise I’m leaving myself open there!), but who others seem to love.

  65. Geo

    Actually there was only one troll, just multiple identities. Curiously enough, he originally came on here as Birmingham fan. Apparently upset at his team being called useless lumps. Or words to that effect.

    YW

  66. Good afternoon delusional AKB wasters. A bit of history for you:

    Undoubtedly, one of the the greatest military leaders in history (if not the greatest) was Napoleon. Unlike another frenchman, Wenger, his genius is best illustrated by his ability to destroy and defeat combined enemies. When we were faced with the might of the chavs, mancs and Barcelona we were crushed ! However, Napoleon was able to destroy the so called coalition, which were the combined armies of Austria, Russia, Portugal and others, who were threatning the might of france ! He was able to do this by getting it right tactically on the battle field !! Something that Wenger has failed to do, especially when Denilson is present. So Wenger… learn your lesson… Napoleon’s greatest victory was the Battle of Austerlitz which lead to the downfall of the Roman empire. We beat Roman recently, but we need to bring down the empire. So drop Denilson. You know it makes sense. Field your strongest team !!!

  67. Muppet
    One of the key lessons from Napoleonic history is that he overstretched his forces in marching on Russia (something the Third Reich later repeated with horrific conequences) which depleted the strength of his forces longer term.
    The analogy with overstretch is a strategic one, rather than tactical but leads to the conclusion that squad rotation is beneficial in the long run. Glad Wenger does not want to follow in Bony’s snowy footsteps!

  68. Blue Kenyan…I do not know if I truly like that way of describing a man. Kind of like a Red Indian which I have never quite been able to understand. I much prefer the old method that the elders used to describe a man. Invariably, this method of naming, was as a consequence of his deeds in life. So you found these names emerging as, ‘Man who passes sideways’ or ‘Man afraid of the tackle’. I have even read a name in North American history as ‘Man afraid of his horses’. That would not be a sound position to be in since there were no buses at that time!

  69. Some guys have started a ticket system on twitter. If you want tickets or have tickets for sale just contact them on twitter and they will spread the word.

    @arsenal_tickets

  70. ”What really worries me about the Carling Cup Final is that we will be playing the Birmingham Thugs sandwiched between two games against Barcelona”
    I share your concern, Jaygooner. I reckon, he will play the ‘first 11’ for all the barca games, with 1-2 changes at Wembley.

  71. Kitchenpete,

    hahahahaha…

    Always love on here how an argument can be so incisively decimated.

  72. Fungunner – yeah, I think you are right. The emergence of Wilshere will have made things a little more difficult to claim it back though.

  73. Limestonegunner

    As you know Muppet the major lesson is never get involved in a land war in Asia!

  74. @ goonerandy
    the competition in the squad, especially in the midfield is BRUTAL this year.

    *****
    @ Block 4
    My point is that if you cannot verify that background or knowledge you cannot resonably say that one poster’s opinion is worth more than anothers just becuase you may hold a similar view to yourself.

    My point is NOT that I know who has what knowledge – the point is that for many reasons, some fans do in fact generally know better than others. As I said, you implicitly accept that point by acknowledging Wenger’s superiority. There’s less difference between fans than between fans and Wenger, but is that Brum troll’s opinion as interesting and worthwhile as yours? Is it as informed as yours?

    Not knowing which of us is in fact Guus Hiddink enjoying some downtime helps to be more objective in assessment of a post. I personally judge by several criteria including persuasiveness ie how well their arguments fit what we know already, or by the predictive value of their posts. (I don’t mean “guesses” like “we are/are not going to win a trophy this year”). And I am open to having my opinion changed.
    Which brings me to this…

    In that case, surely when it eventually comes to the point where you disagree about something then you must by your logic defer to their superior knowledge or insight? Doesn’t sound like a climate for any kind of constructive debate.
    It would be entirely rational and sensible for me to defer to someone’s opinion if they showed they had greater technical knowledge. I suspect I wouldn’t argue much with Henristic in a technical debate about his field of science – why would I? On what basis could I do so?

    I also judge them on how they deal with opposing viewpoints and facts which would appear to undermine the basis of their opinion – one of my criticisms of many of the negative posters is that faced with such problems they simply say, well that’s my opinion. That is no sort of answer, is it? You have to explain WHY such-and-such a statistic or other fact does not show what it appears to show, etc etc. That’s how I understand debate to function.

  75. I think it will be interesting when Rambo is back. What combinations in midfield work and which do not. We have seen the Denielson/Jack perform poorly many times as an unit. We have seen Song/Jack work very well most of he time. We have seen Song/Denielson working reasonably well. Ramsay last year played well with Denielson and Song.
    Of course I have also left out Diaby who also plays an important part at times.
    I am really glad I do not have to make these decisions as the balance can be really badly affected by choosing the wrong combination.

  76. Limestonegunner,

    Quite ! Didn’t we lose in Turkey ?

  77. no.. sorry.. it was the Ukraine.

  78. Surely any of you who actually took the time out of your boring London lives to watch the game last night could see Birmingham scored 3 great goals in front of a fantastic home crowd, and didn’t stamp or kick anyone to get there. In fact, in the first leg it was Victor Obinna who was sent off for an unnecessary kick out at Sebastian Larsson. It always amazes me how one-sighted Arsenal fans, and it’s club are, you are one of the most disciplined clubs ever in the Premier league and dive all over the place. Take a look at your own side before you lash out at others who might not be as attractive to watch, but at least they put in an honest shift for fans that aren’t fickle deserters every time their team loses.

  79. Sad that Birmingham beat West Ham. I used to like Birmingham before they turned into thugs. The timing of the game at Wembley will be difficult but I really hope we do not let down and we play close to our strongest team for the final. It will be a tough enough mental task to “get up” for mugs like Birmingham between the 2 games with Barca.

    Expecting a lot of rotation for the FA cup game this weekend. I would almost like to see the boss try the B team concept again because it should have worked before. I expect Nasri and Walcott to play. Hope Diaby can play and actually make it through the game without a pulled muscle. Expect a relatively easy win no matter who we send out, but felt the same way before Wigan, Leeds and Ipswich. Will be interesting to see who plays.

    Whats the situation with Fabianski? Not sure who I want to see as #1 at this point. Fabianski has done nothing to deserve demotion but Chezzer has certainly earned the right to keep his spot. Long term I think Chezzer is our EVDS or pre-skull cap Petr Cech. I suspect the solid GK this year is part of the reason for our defensive revival.

    Hope we get to see Afobe play.

  80. “We have seen the Denielson/Jack perform poorly many times as an unit”

    Examples?

    Denilson/Jack in the cup against the yids was perhaps the most dominant midfield performance of the year.

  81. Who’s Diaby?

  82. If the Premier League Fair Play table were an actual league table with prizes and relegation at the end; Arsenal would be reigning Champions and Birmingham City would have just scraped the drop, finishing as they did, fourth from bottom last season.

    And sorry but I fucking hate Birmingham City. I was well positioned in the ground last season to watch Liam Ridgewell take Walcott out and sideline him for weeks, and to hear a bunch of cunts sing Martin Taylor’s name at Eduardo. I hope you get relegated, and it’s a crying shame the League Cup final won’t be an all London affair.

    Well… I can see it being pretty one-sided actually but, you know what I mean.

    Now what am I going to do with my boring London life this weekend?

  83. Jay Turner,
    you’re right about us having too many fickle fans. I suspect all big clubs have them. But the only reason your lot didn’t resort to kicking and stomping yesterday was that you didn’t have to.

  84. Denilson was to blame on Tuesday.

  85. I agree with Duke, Denilson should have used his telekinetic abilities (I know he has them) to create a force field between Sagna and Tech. If he did this, poor Bac would never have got concussed.

    No sense of loyalty or leadership from him.

  86. hah great comments from Hill-Wood, he’s old school though.

  87. Didn’t Jerome stamp on Tomkins near the end of the game last night?

    And our fickle deserter fans who sell out pretty much every home game in a stadium twice the size of Brum’s, with a 5 year waiting list on season tickets??

  88. @FunGunner, this will be my last word on our debate as I fear we are going round in circles. When valuing poster’s contrbutions you say they must back it up with the why when statistics or facts are presented. As an example shottagunner (not picking on you shottagunner, but just to illustrate the point), yesterday posted a list of rankings in various categories, the first of which rated Denilson 12th in total passes. Well you could argue, irrefutably, that there are 11 players who made more passes. You could then use that to argue that (and this is where you get into difficulty with stats), if we don’t already have them, that signing one of those players in his stead would see us make more passes. Now that a conclusion that is complete rubbish in that they may or may not make more passes in our team and those passes may or may not be of more use to the team depending on where they go, but it has also proved that the statistic itself is useless. So how do you back up your argument? I would say it’s nigh on impossible in a team game such as football to definitively say anything based on statistics (I’m not sure what you men by “facts” as opposed to stats), the value of a player is very much subjective and therfore a poster’s value of any player should be treated the same.

    Saying all that, I have my favourite players and less favourite players, I don’t think there is anyone who could hand on heart say they don’t and that those feelings don’t colour their judgement of players at all. Also, some people just like to be contrary. Obvious trolls should just be ignored.

  89. The point I was trying to make yesterday, is that when a poster call’s someone a moron for not sharing their view on a player, be it positive or negative, that is surely just as moronic, if not more so than the opinion made.

    As rightly pointed out above, everyone has differing opinions on players, be it slight or vast, and may or may not view performances with a certain bias based upon that.

    Anyway…..

  90. I’ve always seen Denilson’s job as being A) to keep the ball and B) to keep the ball moving, regardless of the direction he plays it. It’s this constant fluidity of our midfield that drags opposition players out of position and creates the gaps our forwards exploit. People (bizarrely) want him to be a Scott Parker-type and that’s not why he’s in the team, although to say he doesn’t play any forward passes is nonsensical.

  91. I was also well positioned at the Emirates to see Jack Wilshere drop kick Nicola Zigic earlier in the season. Again, you’re rose-tinted vision showing through perfectly. It makes me laugh that you say we stamp and kick when ‘we have to.’ I used to think Arsenal only dived ‘when they had to’ until Cesc Fabregas’ disgraceful dive against Ipswich on Tuesday, as well as Walcott’s dive at Leeds, which thankfully was called. Not to mention Chamakh’s dive at the Emirates against us earlier in the season to gain you a penalty. (Oh and Van Persie’s dive at St Andrews to win the freekick which you then scored from) I’m not saying Birmingham are angels, I just wish you guys wouldn’t see yourselves as so high, mighty and exemplary in this league – it’s beginning to get boring. I love to watch Arsenal play, but how the majority of your fans can’t see the big picture is frustrating me so much that I’m starting to really dislike you. No doubt somebody will come back with some sort of opta stat about how I’m wrong, but if you’re truthful to yourself, you’ll know everything I just said is completely justified and true.

  92. Quite right, Vince.

    And I agree with Bill… for once! I hope we get to see Afobe on Sunday.

  93. Stats do have their place for sure, but as Block4 pointed out they cannot be reliup upon to paint the full picture. They don’t tell you what a player hasn’t done for an example.

    A player could have 100% pass completeion for example; if every pass he has made was the wrong choice of pass, what does that stat tell you?

  94. Good point, andy. That has told us absolutely nothing.

  95. Facts are very stubborn things. (That is perhaps the one lasting legacy of Rafa Benitez’s sojourn in English football).
    Opinions are fickle and fleeting. Already most of passionately held opinions of early this season about need for signing of new goalkeeper-defensive midfielder-and-defender are already settling in the black hole of memory.
    Denilson stats after 12 appearances, courtesy of The Telegraph:
    Passing (4th rank among team’s MFs)
    Assists – 0
    Total Passes – 497
    Accuracy % – 92.6 (highest of all)
    Tackling (5th rank among team’s MFs)
    Attempted – 24
    Success % – 17.8
    Interceptions – 15
    Arsene will continue to make fools of those fans who cannot set aside their prejuidices and recognize we have a wonderful player on our hands. He is far from being the fastest or the strongest but he is a master technician whom we can rely to an excellent job when required.
    A luta continua! (Straight to ZP’s chest.)

  96. As far as i’m concerned if the ball finds a red shirt then it was the right pass. A massive part of our strategy is built around wearing the opposition down by making them chase shadows for 90 minutes. We can’t tire them out if we don’t have possession.

  97. FG,

    “…about “kicking the players’ asses” – management of the players is Wenger’s job, not ours. He knows them best and knows what works for them.”

    I think you missed my point here, but its not at all important so I’ll let it go.

    “I also responded to your Denilson comments on the last blog – just to say that the people shotta was having a go at are those like oh my kingdom…, whom you challenged – ie those who refuse to recognise his good points even when the evidence is put in front of them.”

    I might be wrong but I think Shotta made his post in response to Goonerandy (or was it Block4) who are not at all like oh my kingdom. I was only trying to get Shotta to realise that.

  98. @Block4
    I won’t get into the argument on the value of statistics because that is a whole separate area. The point is that you accept that Wenger’s opinion is more valuable than yours or mine because of his knowledge, experience, insight, track record, etc, you are also accepting that there are differences in worth – less great between fans in general and Wenger, but they exist.

    You may have different criteria for judging posts – I was just giving mine. And on the criticism of negative gooners, the point is that you cannot have a debate unless you actually address each other’s points or facts which do not fit your argument – which doomers conspicuously fail to do.

  99. correction – “the point is that IF you accept”

  100. Vince | January 27, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    “As far as i’m concerned if the ball finds a red shirt then it was the right pass…..”

    I understand the point you’re trying to make, but surely you realize this isn’t true in all situations?

  101. Premier League fine Blackpool £25,000 for fielding weakened team v Villa.

    Seems Holloway quit to

  102. @ goonerandy
    If a commenter says that a player always passes sideways, and the stats show that he not only does NOT always pass sideways, but passes forwards MORE han he passes sideways and moreover passes forwards MORE than other players in his position in other teams, how can the aforementioned commenter continue to insist that Denilson always passes sideways?
    There may be some way of explaining that statistic to fit in with the view that he contributes nothing, but simply saying, “I don’t care, I still don’t like him/I still think he passes sideways” is not it.

  103. Dups – Are you serious man?

  104. and that should be “less great THAN between fans in general and Wenger”.
    Cah. sorry.

  105. Who the hell is this “Denilson” dude anyways?

  106. is that right, dups?

  107. FG – have you a headache from knocking your had against the wall?

  108. Dups – Whats a “Had”?

  109. Not sure about Holloway quitting but there is a story breaking on the Guardian at 5.30ish

  110. Henristic: I’d say in the middle of the park it’s true on more or less every occasion.

  111. lol Irish – Who is whats?

  112. I see there was more trouble after the Birm. V. WHam. game with 17 arrested. Birm. are already under investigation for trouble earlier in the season. I wonder if there is any correlation between players assaulting their opponents and fans assaulting their opponents fans?

  113. Dups – Doh!!

  114. Guys when do Barca and Real Madrid play each other in the Copa Del Rey final? I know they have their respective second legs to play but I am pretty sure they will play each other.

  115. LA – In response to my latest recitation of “facts”I am waiting for some outrageous observation by you. Must say I am feeling let down so far. 🙂

  116. Diaby, Squillaci & Almunia all in the squad for Sunday.

  117. @ Irishgray
    “I wonder if there is any correlation between players assaulting their opponents and fans assaulting their opponents fans?”
    Good point.

  118. FunGunner:

    Denilson clearly does not pass just sideways and he makes a huge number of passes/minute on the pitch. If the stats are accurate which I assume they are, then anyone who disagrees with that is wrong. Debatable part is the utility of the passes he makes. That is in the eye of the beholder and obviously divides opinion. I think he is an extremely valuable member of the squad at this point.

    If you look at the debates on this blog it is quite clear that both sides, doomers and good guys use stats when it furthers the point they are trying to make and tend to ignore stats that argue against their points. We are all guilty of having preconcieved notions and being very stubborn about those ideas. Can not remember anyone actually changing their mind about anything significant even after lengthy debates. Human nature and the vagueries of professional sports I guess.

  119. @ dups
    yippee, Diaby back
    And I’m OK for now, thanks. 🙂

  120. “I wonder if there is any correlation between players assaulting their opponents and fans assaulting their opponents fans?”

    Not to mention the shit football boring the fans so much they find other things to occupy themselves.

  121. @shotta
    The figure for the success rate is slightly off. It’s at 70.8%. Something must’ve gone wrong while copy pasting, eh?

  122. As I am feeling very lazy at the moment can someone check to see if anyone has ever won 3 trophies at Wembley? I do not think anyone has and as we are going to slaughter Birmingham (hehehe) and the F.A.Cup is not out of our grasp, plus we all know how crap Barca really are 🙂 we would be the first!! just one more record set by The Arsenal 🙂 And to top it all of Spuds away has been moved to May 10 (so I heard anyways) so we could possibly, and not for the first time :), win the league at Shite Fart Pain!!!

  123. Bill | January 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm |

    “Can not remember anyone actually changing their mind about anything significant even after lengthy debates.”

    I guess the one opinion that breaks the stalemate debate is always going to be Wenger’s opinion, Bill.

    The problem is, do you still argue and insist on your opinion even after that or would you move on?

  124. If you consider that those stats are only for the Premier League and Denilson has had just 4 starts (and 8 sub appearances) they paint quite an interesting picture. With some “minutes played” statistics I think we would see that Denilson probably has the highest successful pass/minute stat and probably would be our second best MF when it comes to successful tackles/minute and interceptions/minute.

  125. @ Bill
    Speak for yourself. I have used this and other blogs to educate myself, not to mention listening to and learning from ex-players and the master himself.

    @ Irishgray
    “And to top it all of Spuds away has been moved to May 10 (so I heard anyways) so we could possibly, and not for the first time 🙂 , win the league at Shite Fart Pain!!!”
    What a delightful possibility!

  126. I read the stats, shotta. It confirmed for me exactly what I’ve seen in Denilson’s season so far; when Neves has played, he’s been consistently very, very good.

    But that pass a minute one really was outrageous… and very cool! 60 passes per hour. That’s 0-90 in just under one game of football!

  127. Irish – if they move east it could be the last time we have the chance to win it at the Stain.

    FOYS

  128. Jay Turner,
    Wilshere apologised and rightly so. It was one of the relatively few incidents in recent times where an Arsenal player did something that could really have harmed another player or even ended his career. I wish I could say that about Birmingham.

    Walcott tried to dive, admitted it and apologized.

    As to the other alleged dives, they weren’t. But that’s just my rosy red specs, you’ll say. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but so is ugliness and diving, it seems. Because of its very nature, you can’t really get any statistics about it so the ‘truth’ will always be a very subjective matter indeed. Have you seen the YouTube video about Gerrard ‘The Hypocrite’? I believe that the only way we will get rid of violent play and diving is to introduce video evidence for referees. It will solve a lot of problems when it will be introduced.

  129. irishgray, 20th of April.

  130. “I wonder if there is any correlation between players assaulting their opponents and fans assaulting their opponents fans?”

    I’ll let Jay Turner answer that one

  131. FOYS!

  132. The breaking Guardian news

    “Bale to Inter in the Summer for £40m”

    What a load of bollox

  133. ”Manchester City are preparing to hijack Chelsea’s efforts to land David Luiz”

  134. The Million Dollar Monkey. That does sound like complete bollocks. I rather like Leonardo… and despite the rogue’s gallery he’s inherited, he’s surely a man of more refined taste than to go for Bale. Or maybe he doesn’t ge to choose. I think he’ll go to United for about £20 million. If that back spasm of his ever loosens up. He’d suit United. Very straightforward, one-dimensional sort of a player.

  135. Just been watching the B’ham game again. Jay Turner, you were awful;
    maybe you play the odd decent game against crap teams, but you kick, stamp, clod-hop and cheat against us.. and still lose.

  136. FunGunner:

    You have no preconcieved ideas, you study the evidence, listen to the debate, and then form your opinions in an open minded fashion. Congratulations.

    G4E:

    Wenger always has the last word and makes his decisions without any regard to what you and I say. Does that mean we should not discuss our ideas or have any kind of debate? What is the purpose of blogging?

  137. Apparently Wenger risks a fine for fielding a weakened team every time Denilson plays. No, no – NO! – it was just a joke, honestly!!!

    I remember when we first got Denilson and I was as excited about him as I am today by Wilshire and Ramsey; admittedly, I’ve been holding my breath these last four years in a way I’ve not needed to with Jack. But he’s good in the tackle and two-footed in the pass; he doesn’t hang around and moves the ball quickly; these are all very major attributes and key skills for any player with a future in Wenger’s Arsenal; they enable him to play in the ‘Arsenal way’.

    Like the now retired Tim Henman in the tennis, he’s also playing at a time when there has never been more competition in a breath-taking side teeming with top level midfield talent – more, in my view, than at any time in this club’s history and I think that goes some way to explaining some of the ‘ambiguous’ support he gets from some fans. I don’t think Wenger always does him a lot of favours when he repeatedly plays Denilson alongside weaker squad members; by association, he is tarred with the ‘B-team’ brush. I also agree that there is still plenty of time for him to improve further; whether he hits the same heights as Fab, Jack and the gang remains to be seen but let’s keep fingers crossed, eh?

  138. Bill, you either avoid or miss the main point in my post. The issue for me is:

    Someone doesn’t like Denilson, I like Denilson, we debate and debate all we want, but the final decider is Wenger and it seems he’s OK with Denilson.

    How long should we continue to debate? When should we determine that it’s a useless argument and accept that it was settled by the man in charge that Denilson is good enough?

    If the main function for blogs is wasting time on endless debates without the ability to reach a conclusion, then you’re right.

  139. @ Bill

    “You have no preconcieved ideas, you study the evidence, listen to the debate, and then form your opinions in an open minded fashion. Congratulations. ”

    I didn’t say that, but thanks anyway for the compliment. 🙂

  140. Fungunner – You will find that I have never criticized Denilson for “passing sideways”, you may be getting me mixed up with someone else.

    Limpar – Heh, nicely swerved. I used that as an example how stats can be misleading. Of course that somewhat eats into your argument that stats prove how good a player is, so you simply ignored the meaning (which is 100% valdi) behind my statement. Nice.

  141. The Denilson debate, round 736: Denilson is good and will get even better.

  142. I would just like to point out that I am in complete agree-to-disagree-ment with you all when it comes to our resident Brazillian Denilson. As far as I am concerned every silver lining has a cloud and just because pigs have wings doesn’t mean they have to or even want to fly!! Bacary Sagna almost always passes the ball sideways, especially in the last third of the field and I never hear any complaints about him! Meh!!!

  143. Sorry, andy, I don’t recall making any such argument. Was just agreeing with you that your imaginary 100% complete passes to the wrong player stat told us nothing at all about Denilson. I assume that’s who you’re still talking about…

  144. FinnGun – Thank you for that, pity though as it would have been nice to play the spuds near the end of the season if it gave us the opportunity to win the league there.

  145. I feel sorry for Richard Keys

  146. “Magic McLeish Outwits Grant” – stupidest headline ever!!

    A door-knob could outwit Avram Grant, and as for “Magic McLeish”, his team where getting their asses kicked so he sent on his 6’7″ forward and then proceeded to pump the ball upfield!! Magic?? Magic is AA and Baptista’s 4 goal haul EACH against Liverpool when they where still a very decent team, not like now as they are shite 🙂 Magic is Edu coming back from a horrific and I must admit what I thought would be a career ending injury and scoring one of the best goals he has ever scored in his first game back. Magic was watching him then run to the fans even as he was mobbed by every single Arsenal player(bar Fabiansky) even the subs!! Magic was seeing him run 60 yards to embrace the very physio who never lost faith in his return when he scored his second that day and hearing what I think will long be remembered as the loudest roar any goal has ever received from Arsenal fans. Magic would be if Ramsey could score a winner on his return also. I can hear the roar now…..

  147. irishgray,
    those moments were truly magical… Hope Ramsey weaves his magic on return…

  148. FunGunner:

    Your welcome.

    G4E:

    I understand your point, and yes that is what blogs are all about. Same as the arguments that have occured in pubs since the beginning of professional sports. We love talking about our team to whomever will listen. Most of the arguments are unwinnable. Thats the nature of debate about sports.

  149. @ goonerandy
    I was giving you an example of what I meant. I did not name names.

    A player could have 100% pass completeion for example; if every pass he has made was the wrong choice of pass, what does that stat tell you?
    Stats don’t tell you everything, that doesn’t mean they don’t tell you anything at all. That stat would tell you that Player X is a safe pair of hands (feet?). It would be up to you (or AW) to decide how important that attribute was in a player in his position. Statistics (properly collated and verified) are objective measurements which can be used to inform or correct a subjective impression. That is their value.
    Up until a week ago, I dismissed Darren Bent as a tosser and useless. I couldn’t understand why clubs were willing to pay so much for him. Then I was told that he featured regularly among the top 3 scorers in the Premier League. I have now revised my opinion – Darren Bent is a tosser, but an effective one. It doesn’t make me want him for Arsenal because our strikers need to be more than just goalscorers. And they musn’t be tossers, obviously.

  150. Anybody have any idea what’s the latest regarding Vela…?

  151. Supercod – Its a toss up between Bolton and Valencia. Apparently Vela would prefer Valencia as they speak Spanish and the league is more suited to his style of play. However AW wants him to stay in EPL and get valuable experience. Personally I think AW is being very subtle here and is giving Vela just enough rope to hang himself with. What I mean by this is that Vela has been given plenty of opportunities but has yet to really make his mark. His quality is undeniable but if he opts for Spain that may be the signal to AW to let him go. Whereas if he opts for Bolton that would send a very clear signal that he wants to stay and prove himself in England and fight for a place in the Arsenal squad. Just how I see it.

  152. Unconfirmed reports that Nelson Mandela has died. Very sad news if it is true.

  153. Am watching Sydney FC V Central Coast Mariners in the Australian league, not great I must admit but not bad either. Pretty fast and loose, very end to end with the midfield wide open. Was just curious if there was any Australian Gooners that post on here. Like I said earlier I am having a very lazy day, snowed in 🙂

  154. Bill,

    I think you are confusing arguing against rival fans not against your own fans.

    So the normal is, I can argue and defend Denilson with a rival fan who belittles his ability and contribution. But having to defend my own players against a fellow fan? It’s kind of stupid specially if the argument revolves around if he’s a donkey or not? Not how do we best use his abilities to benefit the team and the club.

    I’m sorry I can’t accept that an Arsenal blog should be the play ground for insulting our own players in the name of debate

  155. dups,
    Nelson Mandela’s health had deteriorated on Wednesday and was admitted to hospital which falls less than 5kms from my work place here in SA.. The latest news I heard was He’s recovering from his collapsed lungs but still his health is still a concern though…

  156. WOW!!! Now that would be tragic as he is one of my all-time heroes. 😦 I knew he was in hospital but I did not think it was that serious.

  157. A note to the masses…

    You want to insult our own players and get so much support for it?

    Go to a Spuds blog or a Mancs Blog. They will love you there, don’t expect any here though, at least not from me.

  158. IndianGooner – That is a relief 🙂

  159. G4E,

    I would just ignore Bill. I think he is a clever troll. He is probably James.

  160. I know Muppet, I’m just not sure what they gain by wasting that time?

  161. As a fellow South African I wish Mr Mandela a full and speedy recovery. A truly great man!
    Gunner for ever ,, If we cant debate on a blog what’s the point? Even fans from the same team are going to have different opinions! I dont agree with slating our players and hate mongering. But for fuck sakes reasonable posters like Bill get abused by fuck heads like Shotta , and Stew for having a opinion that differs from their own. That goes on and fucking on and becomes more of a bore every damn day. We win a match and certain posters come on and instead of talking about a great victory the first words to be spewed out are directed at other fans,,
    Very simple minded,,

  162. G4E:

    For 2 days we have debated about Denilson. I have not seen anyone say he is a donkey, or slagged him or called him names. No one has said he should be sold or moved off the team. I think he a very valuable player on this squad especially with Diaby and Ramsey not available. I think we have excellent depth and quality and there are other deep central midfielders who add more to the team. He certainly does an excellent job of what he does when on the pitch. I think his proper place now is as Song’s and Wilshere’s back up. When either Diaby and/or Ramsey are available then his position is more nebulous. May be the boss will try some combination of Diaby, Wilshere and Ramsey when Song is rested or perhaps he will use Denilson as Song’s back up. Will be interesting to see what happens. Myself I see nothing insulting about that.

  163. The problem is not about to debate or not to debate Jo, it’s about what we debate. Sometimes, you have to read between the lines of some people’s postings due to their long lasting dissent for Arsene and selected players. Their issues have been the same for years and you get sick of it after awhile.

    If you dislike a player, say it once and move on. Don’t fuck our brains with it every 5 minutes.

    If you believe that debating on blogs doesn’t change the outcome on the field (like someone said yesterday) why the hell bother debating the same thing on a blog everyday?

  164. “Facts” are very stubborn. No wonder poor old Jo sounds so frustrated.

  165. Declaration of Denilsonization

    On this day, Thursday the 27th of January, 2011.

    We the fans of ACLF blog concluded that Denilson is a fit and able member of the Arsenal squad and that Wenger will utilize him in any way, form, or shape as he sees beneficial to the Arsenal team.

    We hereby HOPE to close this argument and we HOPE that our fans will forever hold their peace.

    Highly Unlikely

  166. Similarly I feel a sorry for Andy Gray….a real shame we won’t be seeing or hearing from them again. Gone in a puff of smoke. Puuuffff…..all gone.

  167. Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people!

    Shotta this about sums you up!
    99.9% of your post are about people,,

  168. Jo | January 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm |

    That can not be further from the truth Jo.

    You judged Shotta after a few posts, but this guy been posting here for years. We know him and we know his contribution to this blog.

    We actually don’t know you yet 🙂

  169. To continue my discourse on two such ‘people’. The chances of winning the lottery or being struck by lightning were greater than us being rid of two ‘shitforbrains’ pundits in one foul swoop. But still it happened.

    Strange feet are things…I mean …strange things are a foot

  170. Frank,

    The fucker is probably going to cross the pond and sign up for a network here. That would suck.

  171. bill (not with blue letters)

    After watching the Austrailian Open for a good while, their use of video replay amazed me. I’m sure many of you have seen how they due replays, the player simply calls for the replay and there is a quick 5 second video clip to see if it was the right call. FIFA says that do not want to interrupt the flow of the game. Well a video replay would take 30 seconds to look at, and James Milner rolling on the ground for two minutes after being “tackled” by someone is okay. Doesn’t make sense to me.

  172. But Gunner 4 ever not a fucking day goes by that the main debate is not about doomers and who fucking said what when they didnt!
    I personally love every member of this Arsenal squad and would like to hear more and discuss more about football. I apreciate others such as Bill’s views even if I dont always agree. Its called being open minded,. O also understand that some people get far more emotional and worked up than others and say things in the heat of the moment. If some one comes on here and says Denilson is shit, then he can get fucked, but when some one puts together a very valid argument or observation and all they get is fuck off you pice of shit,, then I fail to understand that persons logic.
    It’s fucking childish!

  173. Apparently the FA is not going to investigate the crowd trouble outside St. Andrew’s at the end of the CC semi-final against W.Ham. Although no official reason was given, most agree that if all those involved were arrested for hooliganism, this would mean arresting both sets of fans in their entirety and as this would be bad publicity for the EPL, it has been dutifully swept under the proverbial carpet.

  174. bill (not with blue letters)

    I agree,, it would waste less time and be less disruptive to the flow of the game than all the players surrounding the ref and arguing with him which can some times go o for a few minutes, Witch we see pretty much every match.. All the ref has to do is say look at the screen !

  175. Can fully see FSC hiring these two sexist idiots, and what is even more tragic is that if by hiring them, they then fire Warren Barton, it would be an improvement!!! Seriously!! Who the fuck hired WB? They should be taken out back and shot, ASAP!!

  176. @Jo
    But that’s the point. People that come on here and discredit Denilson (or, for that matter, any other of our players in most cases) do NOT put together a valid and logical argument. They usually just spout the same old cliches that have been repeated for months or sometimes even years and, when called on the flaws in their arguments, can not really produce proof which in turn means that their arguments for slating our players do not have any real foundation.

  177. bill (not with blue letters) | January 27, 2011 at 8:35 pm |

    Not only that, but the team objecting to the referee’s decision waste much more time arguing with the ref than just viewing it on a video replay….but it’s OK for Stoke & Blackburn players to bring soap & towels to the touch line to wash the ball every time they have a throw-in.

  178. See Jo, we can agree on something when it’s a valid point.

  179. Good God They Have Agreed On Something!! I have to sit down, this is huge!!!

  180. Evil!
    I find Bills posts to be well written and well though, if not rather dull. I dont believe he deserves the vile insults that are directed at him..

  181. The problem with video replays is it means there can be no match fixing or dodgy call by refs. meaning teams like Manu would be screwed…

  182. Jo | January 27, 2011 at 8:56 pm |

    That’s an excellent point. If FIFA implements video replays, the English FA will not comply.

  183. I really am sorry, G4E. But we just can’t take any more of these people. See what you can do with them. Is Guantanamo empty now?

  184. Just something to remind all those Doomers that there where indeed worse times for The Gunners. Check out: http://www.espn.co.uk/football/sport/story/70539.html.

  185. G 4 ever

    It could be a double edged sword! They would have more money to spend in the transfer market if they didnt have to pay off the refs, the FA and who ever else is on the take.

  186. @Jo
    Well, I guess with Bill it’s more of a problem that he is repeating whatever he has written for close to a year now. And even if things he has written (especially about defending and the importance of clean sheets) have been discredited by valid arguments (for example, proving, that there is no correlation between clean sheets and winning the league. Neither the Invincibles nor the double winning side of 2001/2002 kept the most clean sheets in the league) he will usually just write it differently but the meaning of his postings will stay the same. But still, Bill is a nice bloke and much better than the people we see on here after a loss.

  187. Evil ! Fair enough! But then why not ignore him ! Move onto some thing that interests you. By slinging insults at him you only prove your own lack of intelligence. And please note Im not directing this at you, Im just generalizing.

  188. This is a mature debate and the subject should not be taken lightly. We have 6 centre midfield players and they each have different styles. We have to accept that there are different protagonists for different players. Some people will view a midfielder as a box to box, others not so. Certainly, there is a healthy debate about the merits of the holding midfielder i.e. whether we need one or whether we don’t. In my humble opinion, if we have a player who clearly is not able to provide the back 4 with the protection they require, but is deployed in that position, there there is cause for concern. If one focusses on the continental style of player, one will see less physical destroyers and more of the technical variety. Denilson comes into that category. A player who performs a team role, technically adept, but one who is able to complement the arsenal style of passing and movement. The arguments against Denilson have stirred a lot of emotion, but I think that one should be able to have a healthy debate in spit of that. Otherwise it is not possible to debate the facts. The underlying modus operandi of arsenal is to play a high speed game of movement and ball rentention. One has to examine the attributes of players who fit into that system. Denilson has a good first touch, excellent ball control and a very good engine. What then, is the problem ? The detractors are concerned about some recurring themes. Without speaking ill of Denilson or making knee jerk comments on a blog, I believe that these themes are perhaps evidence that there is no smoke without fire. It is a sign of a democratic blog that these points can be discussed fully without one being accused of being a doomer. So then, to the point.. Which is that Denilson is an excellent player but there is a certain jury out on the player which is unable to make the point about him, which is that he is one of the players who cannot be discussed without a certain amount of objections being made regarding the acceptable amount of criticism that can be made about him. If you get my drift.

  189. Frank,

    I think the best thing to do is send them to Afghanistan.

  190. @IndianGooner – Thanks for the update I only hope he ban make a speedy recovery. His is a very unique man.

    @Muppet – are you on twitter as “MuppetGoonet”?

  191. Dups,

    MuppetGooner… yes.

  192. Good God I must read before posting. can not ban and MuppetGooner.

  193. Have been following you on twitter but was not sure if it was our ACLF Muppet.

  194. I don’t say a whole lot on there dups…lol.. I think Ole Gunner is on there a lot

  195. Anybody see these quotes by Hill Wood:

    “I don’t believe in the way Chelsea and Manchester City have achieved whatever they have achieved,” he said.

    LMAO

  196. Yea Ole is on there. Have you noticed that since Denilson received loads of abuse on twitter he rarely ever comments now? One of the abusers was taken to task by my daughter about it. His answer being, ‘I am entitled to my opinion’. Now, because a few twats were abusive, we no longer get the comments.

  197. PHW also said that a rich benefactor could get run over by a bus. 🙂

  198. Do you think he has been making plans?

  199. dupsffokcuf what your name on Twitter?

  200. For those who do not know, “they think it’s all over” podcast has now become, “the tuesday club”

    http://thetuesdayclub.libsyn.com/the-tuesday-club-do-me-a-favour-love-

  201. Thanks dupsffokcuf

  202. dups,

    I didn’t know that. It is disgraceful. It is a shame that a minority of arsenal fans are as thick as pigshit. I remember Deschamps. I could be completely wrong here, but all he ever did was simple passing, break up the play etc. But he won over 100 caps for france !

    Hill Wood making plans ? Dunno.. but they don’t like him on Le Moan. Don’t know why…his comments were brilliant.

  203. Are you @Arsenalitis G4E?

  204. Muppet 9:42 – Spot on…

  205. Haha was just about to post that Nasri tune.
    Love it

  206. Are there anymore regulars from here on twitter?

  207. dupsffokcuf | January 27, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    dups – now that is a big tune! Now among my faves.
    Will share with some backsliding gooners.

  208. Frank:
    “Strange feet are things…I mean …strange things are a foot”

    I love you, man.

  209. What is yours Mean Lean?

  210. Muppet,

    I didn’t know how to react to PHW’s comments at first because I have to confess that quite often I just wish he’d shut up… but I have to confess to laughing out loud at what he said to the woman who was yelling at him to spend some f**king money… it’s not just what he said but the absolute disdain that he reveals for this poor woman and the joy he seemed to derive from pissing her off even more. It sent some of the denizens of Le moan into apoplexy…

    There’s a part of me that just wishes he hadn’t said what he did in the way he did but there’s also a part of me that feels that these rude and uncouth bastards deserve to be treated with a bit of disdain. Some of our fellow fans are all too prepare to arrogate to themselves all manner of rights including the right to insult board members, players or the manager but they’re hardly ever willing to take any responsibility. It seems to me that the price you pay for any valid set of rights is the acceptance of some responsibilities too….

    I also laughed when I read that PHW once had to be driven away from Highbury in the trunk of his car as the fans were so angry at him and wanted to get at him. It says a lot about the man actually that despite all the aggro he’s still in there pitching…. Although sometimes, like when said the stuff about Kroenke which made him sound like an outdated troglodyte, I do wish he’d retire to Kent and grow tomatoes as he said he’d do if a “bloody” Russian took over 🙂

    Speaking of Le Moan, has anyone had the misfortune of actually reading what the two intellectual giants over there have to say on Keys/ Gray Issue? I don’t know that I have ever read such ill-informed, stupid, crass and utterly clueless crap on any given subject much less one as sensitive as sexism. Pedro apparently has no idea about what actually constitutes the private sphere… he was lamenting that the video footage of Gray and Keys taken in their place of work, which lest we forget is a TV studio, constituted an INVASION OF THEIR PRIVACY! I kid you not…. . Le Moan has to be the Arsenal blog with the lowest IQ and that is saying something. I can accept ignorance up to point but it is really funny and a bit sad too to see someone actually take pride in wallowing in their own ignorance.

  211. Bill, you’re wrong yet again. Those who don’t like a certain player never use statistics to argue their case. They are as knee jerk as knee jerk gets. Take Gooner Andy’s lazy comments regarding Denilson, for example. He stated that one of the reasons he doesn’t like Denilson is because he went down injured and Everton scored against us. This was proven to be false. Everton never scored against us when Deni went down in a heap. On top of that he said that Denilson only plays the ball sideways. When confronted by facts he dodges the argument by saying that statistics don’t prove anything. Some people have it in their heads that they don’t like a player and that’s that. You can explain to him or her how good Denilson is at doing his job but they’ll continue to spew imbecilic talking points just because.

  212. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Do they like anything at Le Moan, Muppet?

    I know they are big into Lorik Cana and Subotic but outside of them I’m not sure they like anyone over there.

  213. G4E – @arsenalvision

  214. Good call on Get Carter earlier, LA. It’s a film I’ve not actually seen – I know, I know…but it’s also kind of seminal and I think I know the gist anyway,

    I’m going to have to give this some serious thought. In the meantime:

  215. Peter Hill-Wood is a champ. His comments regarding Chelsea and Man City are spot on. I despise the nouveau riche just like he does.

  216. Le Moan is like the gutter press, full of sensationalist bullshit. Written by idiots for even bigger idiots.

  217. I find the Denilson/ Diaby thing baffling TBH. What cracks me up is when their detractors go … “yeah, they’re not fit to wear the Arsenal strip!!” … and these people are not kids sometimes. My question to these people is based on what historical precedent is Denilson and Diaby not good enough for Arsenal? I remember Steve Morrow and Andy Linigan in the Arsenal midfield not all that long ago. I remember Stefan Schwartz leaving us for Fiorentina. I remember Sven and Benfica turning up with a Brazilian called Isais (I think) and giving us a bit of a chasing at Highbury. How we could have done with a Diaby or Denilson then!… not that they are not absolutely cracking players NOW…

    Don’t get me wrong the club has moved on and we’re in a better place right now so the standards are consequently higher but there are some fans who kind of mistake us for Real Madrid… it wasn’t Arsenal that beat Eintract frankfurt 7-2 or whatever in those sepia tinted movie tone clips… Some folks really ought to get a grip!

  218. Sorry, but this is also great (not the music though). As it happens he played for AW at Grampus:

  219. OOU,

    Thanks for the video. That was probably Jack’s most composed and mature performance for us in his short career, long may it continue. The guy is quite possibly the most complete English talent since Gascoigne IMHO… I can easily see Jack going over to Spain and being a Star… I can see him doing very well in Italy. There are not that many English footballers of which that can be said… of the present crop may be Rooney at his best has what it takes to be a Star abroad, the others like Lampard, Gerrard, Terry, etc all seem a tad one dimensional to me. I may be wrong but for me only Rooney at his best and may be Rio too could be real Stars abroad. Jack Wilshere has real quality.

  220. I fully agree, Joshua. We haven’t seen anything like this for a long while. Paul Gascoigne’s emergence was before my time – I just got Euro ’96 and the decline. So I can’t say I’ve seen an English player with his qualities come through. I hear a lot about Paul Scholes, but let’s be honest; while undoubtedly accomplished, he was never a world-beater. I think he could have had a career at a top Spanish or Italian club though.

    Steve McManaman was someone another who could cut it abroad. He was praised by Johann Cruyff himself – I mean, how many other English players have had that honour? You could say he was playing the Denilson/Wilshere role for Real Madrid 10 years ago.

    I was just thinking about that Stojkovic video – now that’s real dribbling. He draws the defender in and pulls him off balance. It’s a shame that people hold up Cronaldo as a great dribbler when he’s more of a powerhouse with tricky flourishes.

    The other thing is that this guy was great to watch, but probably not the most efficient, and dribbling in the centre circle looks a bit reckless to me. If it were down to coaches like Jose Mourinho we’d never see players like this again.

  221. + was another one

  222. Big Al – that is how football should be played. The way the game speeds up when he received possession of the ball was brilliant. But was he better than Bale?

  223. He is now the manager of Nagoya Grampus and he has still got it!

  224. Big Al – Just watched the JW19 video again. He is not good enough, to many sideways and backward passes.

  225. good read again yogi
    a bit later than usual i know but id like to offer my view on denilson..
    im normally rather critical, but in a season where we are doing so well i find it hard to to be so..
    ive never really had time for denilson, but i decided to study him more recently and my take is….
    denilson has a role..its to give and go..he gets the ball and he passes it quick….thats his game and i give him credit for being consistant in his duties, his stats suggest this…
    now, against teams that press us, it works fine…in fact, its fair to say it works more than fine, they press, denilson passes sharpley, keeps the triangles neat and tidy, ‘positive possesion’ and we pass round them…easy..job done..the creators in the team then go to work in the final third..
    but, against teams that sit back and with denilson playing so deep..the triangles in the centre of the pitch while the oppo are 20 yards away just sat waiting for you, are not so fine…it still looks pretty, and we still keep possession, and the stats percentage stay high, but it has absolutley no effect as the opposition are sat back, pretty triangles and sharp passing in the middle of the pitch are easily defended…more direct play is needed to cut through the parked bus, passing the ball about between yourselfs when nobody is pressing just wastes time…its ‘negative possession’ the oppo are just containing you and waiting for the counter..
    against teams that park the bus against us like chelsea and shit teams like that, denilson although remains very consistant in his role, has very little effect, and although hes very technical hes not tenacious, so when the physical battle is in full flow hes not very effective either, although he reads the game well he has moments of concentration lapses and he gets caught out of position, outpaced and outmuscled fairly easy…
    but against the teams that press quickly and dont use a physical game, denilson is a very effective player, as proven against barca last year…
    denilsons abit of what you call a one trick pony, his attributes make him look good and effective againt certain teams, at the same time not so against others….
    whereas jack is more of an all rounder, he can dribble, pass the short quick ball as well as the direct ball and hes tenacious, he gets stuck in…and it makes him effective against both styles of pressers and bus parkers….which is why hes in the first team and denilsons not…
    denilsons not shit, as everyone who doesnt like him likes to point out, but hes not brilliant either, who everyone who loves him likes to point out..
    being objective, hes a very useful, very good, squad player who will do a job when required, but only is effective against certian teams…hes not a key player, we dont miss him when hes injured, hes just a squad player
    i thought denilson had an average first half v ipswich, but thats because they sat back..but in the second half they pressed more and denilsons game came alive..he and jack absolutely ran the show in that midfield…

  226. A long winded way of saying you do not like Denilson much.

  227. it not that dups
    but when you evaluate the stength of our squad…and we include diaby and rambo as well as song , jack and denilson, my personal view is that when they are all fit denilson doesnt even make it to the bench……
    so why his he so debated over…
    theres no point…
    both the hatred and the love fest for him is totally OTT in my opinion

  228. “but when you evaluate the stength(sic) of our squad”

    That is right, it is a squad and we will need all of those players, each and every one is important to us winning.

  229. In order to find something, anything, to criticize Denilson about, Jon Jon goes ahead and invalidates a style of football that has seen Spain and Barcelona rise to the zenith of world football. By the way, Jon Jon, what made Ipswich chase after us if even after Bendtner scored they could’ve sat back and played for penalties? Did the Ipswich players want to finish the game early so they could avoid traffic?

  230. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    This whole “I’m gonna rank the midfielders at Arsenal first to last” is fucking boring. To be honest, I don’t give a rats ass where you think Denilson fits in, jonjon. Bottom line is… he’s a tidy little player who does his job when called upon and does it well and we are lucky to have a player of Denilson’s pedigree. Wenger knows best and let’s just leave it at that. He’ll make you look stupid every time.

  231. Nasir-Jones-Nasri – I do believe that is exactly what JonJon was saying, so throwing the same thing back to him as a refute does not make any sense. In all fairness I think his opinion(as it was not put forward as an argument either way) was in my humble opinion the best description of Denilson we have had yet. I am not saying he is 100% accurate but at the least it is a fair and balanced appraisal as he sees it. And that to me is the whole purpose of this and any other blog. I understand this has become something of a hot-button issue but not once did he put down anybody elses opinion, he simply stated his in a very civil way, he should be accorded civility in return.

    As Dups (someone I agree with 99.9% of the time) said it is a squad, and we need them all. JonJon’s reply was a very simple but all telling “YUP”. He is not arguing, he is simply sharing his opinion, again this is the very basis of a blog.

  232. On a lighter note, why is it that it only takes one careless match to start a forest fire but 1 whole box to start a campfire? Sorry, bored insomniac with access to a laptop 🙂

  233. Gunner4ever and bill (not w b l), the pre-emptive effect of videos would actually speed up the game. And it would result in more goals. Just think what it would be like with no shirt tugging inside the box.

  234. Untold has a statistical piece about fouls in the PL. Interesting point about agricultural teams bending over for MU.

  235. FinnGun – Was just reading that on Untold re: fouls. i raised the point about seeing if it was in any way possible he could remove any and all off-sides, as I think this would give fairer reflection of “real” fouling, will wait and see.

  236. Sorry JonJon but your comment where you state.. that when everyone is fit Denilson isn’t even on the bench…. betrays a certain level of naivety. All the players you named are very good but none of them is exactly like the other. Who makes it to the bench or even into the first team will depend on the game in question (here I don’t mean just whether it is considered high or low profile game but also things like whether it’s home or away all the way down to what the playing surface is like) on who’s on form and on who the manager rotates to avoid tiredness, injury and whatever.

    The problem with a lot of our fans and pundits at the moment is that they’re assuming that the old paradigm of a “1st eleven” is still relevant with what Wenger is doing with Arsenal… that paradigm is dead. What we have now is truly a “squad” in the fullest sense and it is only going to become more so and when the players fully accept psychologically that there’s a squad that WILL be rotated for all sorts of reasons, not merely a first and second 11, what we will see are more changes along the lines of what Wenger did against Wigan away.

    My humble opinion on this Denilson thing is that the reason this debate is raging on here is not because of the stupid inanities spouted by the dumb haters on Le Grove and elsewhere but more because of fans like you who basically have no appreciation or real understanding of what Denilson does… I’m trying not appear patronising but it simply cannot be the case that you understand the nature of what Denilson offers and then make a comment like the one you did…. the ranking of our midfielders is not a crude and simple one dimensional linear exercise of grading them top to bottom as you appear to do but it more like a complex and subtle three dimensional matrix of skills and strengths that can be shuffled to give a slightly different look to the midfield and therefore the team’s balance. Incidentally the same is true of the attack especially…. the defence is a bit different … for now at least. That’s what I think… fans like you who make these simple linear rankings don’t appreciate what’s going on with Arsenal IMHO. There’s real paradigm shift happening with what Wenger is doing and it will most likely change football in much the same way that his training methods and dietary innovations changed football in this country, only this time the impact is going to be continent wide.

    But hey! I could be wrong and simply over thinking here. May be Arsene intends to sell off Denilson, Arshavin and whoever else is supposedly down the pecking order today irrespective of their innate talent and ability, we shall have to wait and see.

  237. Mmm… “fairer”, yes but still not fair enough. You’d need to clearly break down all the referees’ calls into different categories. And then you still miss the one’s they didn’t call. You’d have to do this “manually”, I guess. Several people, preferably fans from different clubs and neutrals, watching the games separately and counting and categorizing all fouls. Would be an interesting study… This could be done as official or academic research, or it could be organized on the internet. In the latter case, you would really need a large number of participants for the statistics to be reliable. But this isn’t really my long suit. Any real researchers about?

  238. Limpar @ 6:25 – No, I am not talking Denilson. I was not talking about any player; I was highlighting that stats do not tell the full picture and can be very misleading.

  239. joshua | January 28, 2011 at 7:05 am |

    Post of the day! Having watched Arsene’s post match interview, that is exactly what he is saying. He is creating a squad of highly technical players who he considers to all be at the same level and therefore interchangeable according to the circumstances of the game. You are absolutely right that the players especially the so called ‘second choice’ ones, really need to start believing it and deliver consistently.

  240. Capello admits he made a mistake leaving Theo at home. Ho hum Fabio. Next time don’t listen to the press so much. TBH it’s quite refreshing to have a man with Capello’s CV openly admit to a mistake that not many people consider a mistake anyway. Theo has said that Capello was right to leave him out, but Theo being Theo that’s what he’d say even if he feels different. The Press were almost entirely for leaving Theo at home and most of them felt that Wright-Philips was the nuts at the time… Funny how time can make certain opinions to appear just downright foolish.

    Good on you Don Fabio.

  241. Friendly against Denmark a week before Barca…

  242. Gainsbough69 – “Take Gooner Andy’s lazy comments regarding Denilson, for example. He stated that one of the reasons he doesn’t like Denilson is because he went down injured and Everton scored against us. This was proven to be false. Everton never scored against us when Deni went down in a heap. On top of that he said that Denilson only plays the ball sideways. When confronted by facts he dodges the argument by saying that statistics don’t prove anything. Some people have it in their heads that they don’t like a player and that’s that. You can explain to him or her how good Denilson is at doing his job but they’ll continue to spew imbecilic talking points just because.”

    I never once critisised him for “passing sideways”. One because I don’t really think that, and two if in doing so keeps posession that good. I also don’t think I saidEverton scored from his collapse; my point there was that it was unprofessional for him not to stop the game (As our manager also alluded to).

    On the stats, I was mearly pointing out that they do not prove either way as they can be disorted or selectively chosen. I accept that they have their place, but conclusive they are not. Somebody eariler mentioned D Bent’s stats changing their view on him. I am in the same camp…..I think he is turd, but his goalscoring stats prove me somewhat wrong.

    So as you accuse me of “lazy comments”, I think you you are just as guity (as proven above). It is not even that I don’t like Denilson, I just don’t rate him as highly as others do. If I dare posts that, I end up getting drawn into this type of debate. Never once have I slagged him off, or insulted him. I have gave my opinion on what I see on the pitch.

  243. Thanks Passenal. It’s just my opinion but you’re right about what Wenger has been saying all season. He believes that he has a true squad not a first and second eleven and I tend to agree with him… which isn’t really all that surprising, I guess 🙂 I like and admire the man.

  244. Gainsbourgh69 – “You can explain to him or her how good Denilson is at doing his job but they’ll continue to spew imbecilic talking points just because.”

    And this sentence reveals an important point; you believeing that you need to”explain” to me how good he is illistrates that you think that your views are more valid that mine. When they are not; we simply have different opinions. You probably think I “don’t get it”, and have had my views given to me by the media (that is usually the party line here when somebody does not conform to the popular view). Wrong!

  245. Heh, typical JonJon makes a good post highlighting both good and bad about Denilson and gets slated. I think that is probably the best description of the player during this whole debate.

    And he is right, if everyobody was fit he probably would not make the bench. Despite the stats showing him to be Da bestest EvA.

  246. I see the Denilson debate hasnt closed 24hrs laternot a good way to celebrate my birthday..Darius where is you friday post? we need a new topic to discuss in here.

  247. Firstlady – I agree, tis old hat now.

  248. And Happy Birthday 🙂

  249. Joshua,

    Your dismissal of the “old paradigm” of a first eleven is rubbish. In the past four league games we have played the same eleven players, save for the goalkeeper because of injury and right-back because of suspension. I would suggest that is the definition of having a first eleven. The exception even before that has been the Wigan game over Christmas because of the crowded schedule around that time. The real rotation comes when we play domestic cup games because, rightly or wrongly, the management don’t attach as much importance to those games. That first eleven, and I would say any Arsenal fan could reel them off, will play the league and champions league games from now until the end of the season all other things being equal.

  250. Seems to me we do have a ‘first 11’ for the first time in a long while – due to both inconsistency and injuries we havent seen the ‘strongest 11’ on the field – now it seems we have. And its:

    Chezzer
    Sagna Djourou Kos Clichy
    Song Jackie
    Theo Cesc Nasri
    RVP

    Vermaelen will have his work cut out i tells ya – cause none of those 2 centrehalves have done anything to warrant being benched – Vermaelen is the man though!

  251. Block 4…

    We’ve played 23 matches this season not 4, that’s one thing. I can understand that fans are now all for the team that beat Chelsea and assume that team now represents some kind of “1st eleven” but the actual facts of the matter are not anywhere near as clear cut. Arshavin is out of form not a 2nd teamer. Vermaelen is injured not a 2nd teamer, Ramsey has been out for a while and is only coming back to full fitness he is not by any manner or means a second eleven player for Arsenal. Denilson was injured at the start of the season and jack is now in possesion but there’s nothing at all that suggests that it’s a permanent state of affairs… we don’t have a second and first eleven IMHO.

    Are there core players for the team who I’d imagine would play in the biggest matches, say against Barcelona… absolutely. I’d say Song, Nasri, Fabregas, Vermaelen, if fit, and van Persie and Sagna on current form. The rest of the team is really up to who is fit and how the manager wants to play. Diaby will start some games, Jack will start some games and yes… the much maligned Denilson will start some games and it is only going to become more and more the case that we have more of a squad than a first eleven . Clichy and Gibbs will become ever more interchangeable and who accompanies Vermaelen in defence will be a hard fought battle… in fact to be honest I’m not even all that sure Vermaelen is miles ahead of Kos or that a Kos Vermaelen partnership is better one than Kos Djourou or whatever permutation… including Squillaci.

    It is also quite naive in my view to say that a match like the one against Ipswich wasn’t important or is less important than the match against Everton for example. That kind of thinking is quite erroneous and it isn’t something that Wenger would ever indulge in… it is quite crazy to assume that wenger thaouht that he could afford to lose against Wigan because he played a so-called second 11… Wigan was a league match after all, and a match that was played away from the Grove to boot… how can you dismiss that match. If we’d lost or drawn against Ipswich the reverberations would still be sounding now! Le Grove and the anti-Arsenal media would be in an absolute lather… No one in the team for the match against Ipswich was picked as favour or as a sop… the manager picked a team who knew was very capable of winning. We have clutch of key players but as Wenger repeats time and again development is a key factor in football and a team evolves and changes and so does the game itself. The old paradigm of a 1st eleven is dying, if not already dead at Arsenal. The main task facing Wenger right now is getting all the players on the same page as himself because footballers by their very nature are exceptionally hierarchical in their mindsets… but a paradigm shift is coming. It may be rubbish to you but we’ll see how things pan out this season.

  252. Who else thinks it’s pretty bad that Blackpool have been fined. Absolutely shocking treatment from the F.A. Blackpool have been fined for fielding a team within the new parameters. Either set rules or don’t!

    By these rules we should have notched up hundreds of thousand pounds worth of fines. When we drop 10 players the F.A. have still heard of all the names in the team. Blackpool don’t have that luxury. In effect they have been punished for being a smaller team. You couldn’t fucking write it. I hope they win an appeal.

  253. Joshua, utterly briliant.

  254. Joshua, I think we are talking at slightly cross-purposes. Right now we have a team playing well in the league. I’m not suggesting that the eleven can never change, I would think Vermaelen and Fabianski will come in when fit. Ramsey has never been a consistent first team starter (not to say that he will never be in the future because I really rate him), so that’s a bit of a red herring. Arshavin is fit and ready, how do you explain his being left out consistently for league games unless the manager thinks that Nasri and Walcott are playing better? Yes, that may change if Nasri or Walcott suffer a dip in form, but right now there is a very definite pecking order. I can’t see how you missed that idea, it’s not like any manager sits down at the start of the season and says “I’m playing these eleven whatever”, come on.

  255. Yeah Joshua I agree, but I’d say that RvP is defo on the core team list.

  256. Els, Ithink the whole fining thing is completely absurd. I thought it was awful when McCarthy got fined and I think the same now. I really can’t see how such a rule is justified. What purpose a squad if you cannot use them as you see fit? What constitute fielding a weakened team? Should we have been fined for the Carling Cup for all those years? Should we be fined for rotating players?

    It’s such an unjust regulation and if I were Blackpool I’d consider legal action against the FA. A clever enough lawman would find a way of arguing it into the courts, in fact I’m formulating one now

  257. That was quite disappointing Block 4. I was hoping for an excellent argument in defence of the rigidity of having a 1st team like Chelsea.

    I think this vid sums up how I feel:

  258. Agree re Blackpool.
    You have a squad and should be able to use it as you see fit. The squad limitation make playing youth player an obligation for every team except of course if you are called Arsenal as 98% of our first team squad are under 25. Holloway is a nice bloke and a good manager, I really like him since I read his column on the bbc website a few years back.

  259. Yeah gadget, unbelievably short sighted by the F.A. It’s a rule for one and not others. As you say our carling cup team should have us some fines accumulated. I notice the slant of the stories in the papers are more about if Holloway will keep to his work of resigning. They for some reason are more interested in that than the F.A’s ruling against their own rules.

  260. Great posts Joshua. I think you’re spot on there. There are the obvious candidates in the core as you’ve said, but the first eleven is so much harder to point to than the Chelsea, Citeh or Manure starting 11, that’s for sure.

    And Els & Gadget – spot on too, why should they be punished for having a slightly less recognisable ‘2nd string’ (which Blackpool do have btw ;-))? Madness.

  261. Block4,

    I know what I am saying and I think that I’ve been clear enough (of course i could be wrong about the clarity of my post but it appears clear enough to me at least that’s all I can go on unfortunately).

    I said the the paradigm of the “1st eleven” was a dying or dead one at Arsenal and you said I was talking “rubbish” and cited the 4 most recent league matches as examples… but I never said that what I was talking about excluded the possibility of playing certain players consistently for a certain period… nothing I said had anything to do with the short term scramble for points or excluded players having a longish rum in the team. It’s either you didn’t read what I initially wrote or you misunderstood.

  262. Gadget I love that knock out vid. Of the related vids that come up at the end the funniest knockout one is also very funny. Haha cheers for that.

  263. Does anyone else have that sneaking suspicion about Fabianski’s injury? Almunia has often suffered long-ish term injuries (or other issues that meant he was ‘out’) and Fabianski was then ‘given his chance’. Has the same happened this time with Fabianski for Chezzer to ‘have his go’?? Pure speculation, but the boss is so keen to protect players publicly, maybe this is the case?

    The only difference is that Almunia’s form was not quite up to his best standard when his layoff occurred…

  264. Yep that’s about the top and bottom of it Geo. Stupid b*ds.

  265. Possibly Geo. That had crossed my mind. Keepers do seem to have long layoff’s without much explanation at this club.

  266. Sensible post Joshua, my thoughts exactly. The only key mid-fielders we have are Song and Cesc, I believe the choice of the third mid-fielder is based on factors such as the opponent among others.

  267. I might be completely wrong, but in the past, Wenger would much rather say that a player’s injured, than publicly admit that his spot in the team is in jeopardy, or has been taken… Either way, I’m happy with Fab and Chez fighting it out to be our number one!

    Nice to see Capello agreeing that Wilshere is the best young english player. what an emergence from the yougster. If he were at any other club, I doubt he’d be anywhere near the england team (and that’s not a criticism of him btw!) it’s massive praise for our system and our boss’ insight.

  268. Arsene has had players “injured” before when they have been dropped from the team due to bad form. Fabianski was going pretty well, so I reckon his injury is genuine. There was no reason to rest him.

    I agree about the Balckpool business, it stinks. The lge cannot force clubs to only pick from 25 players, and then tell them which players to pick.

  269. Yeah. Wenger looks after his players. He’ll cushion the blow of being dropped. He’s just a great man manager. As you say the poles are certainly not apart. I’m enjoying the battle for first place. I always liked Almunia I have to say. But these 2 lads seem to be benefiting from this competition more than Al. And obviously therefore the team.

    As for Capello’s plans for Wilshire. I may actually get back the excitement for the national team. Let’s hope the team start playing some 1 touch fast football with some speed. Also he ate his decision about Walcot’s ditching in the world cup. Won’t be long before we have 3 regular england internationals. Before the next world cup I think we’ll have 5 or 6 arsenal players in or around the squad.

  270. I suppose it remains to be seen what team is picked in the big games (league and europe) from here on in. That will be the proof of what I’m saying or not.

  271. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/sports/2011-01/28/content_11934309.htm

    Guys check this dude out, cheap I would imagine but most definitely not French!!

  272. Excellent post @ 9.15 Joshua. I supect that you have hit it on the proverbial in a pretty succinct way.

    So, is this squad the finished article?

  273. Me thinks YW had 1 too many last night and has slept through his Bart Simpson Get-your-butt-outa-bed-you’re-gona-be-late!! alarm clock 🙂

  274. Irish that’s a nice clip. Good luck to the lad. He’s 22! That’s a bit old. Remains to be seen how he’d play in a game.

  275. ELS – Yea but how terrifying would it be for any opposition to know that we have another winger just as fast as Theo!!!

  276. Yeah if he is that fast! But you know Myachi is supposed to be as fast. Also Vela was close but he’s not getting the chances for whatever reason. Having the ball skills is only half the battle. Tell you what though, I’d love it if we did unearth another Theo, you’re right there.

  277. https://aculturedleftfoot.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/stone-cold-friday-when-dark-forces-change-the-tide/

    Yep, this slacker has finally got off his lazy arse and posted Darius’ thoughts for the week…

  278. Josh,
    You’re very right that “1st eleven” is an old paradigm. Not just for arsenal but for just about all modern football clubs. Few people still use the term to literally mean 11- players-who-feature-in-every-game-no-matter-what anymore. Can anyone even point to a top flight club who still operates like that? 1st eleven in these days usually referrs to the core of players (as you mentioned) who are likely to play the biggest games if fit and in form. Like I said this is not just true for Arsenal but applies to manu, chavs, city, real madrid etc.

    Its not like we even rotate players more than other clubs. I remember Rafa Benitez recieving much stick in the press for doing it with liverpool a few seasons ago. I also recall hearing a stat about how much rotation Fergie has been doing this season. All clubs rotate players. That’s the point in having a squad. Some do it more than others, depending on factors like quality gradient (difference in the level of talent or quality of the various players), need to blood in new/young players, injuries, tactical neccesity, etc.

    We’ve got an awesome squad and our non-core players (to adapt your phrase) are at least as good as the core players in many other teams. I’d say this is more or less the same for most of the top teams, except maybe chelsea. The difference with our situation is that due to Wenger’s genius, we’ve been able to achieve this for a fraction of the cost the others spent.

    When most people say 1st eleven they are usually referring to the core of players ass you mentioned who are likely to play the biggest games.

    The way you’ve described

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