Sweet FA, Arsène’s Choices & Respect Is Due

Arsène had plenty to say in his press conference ahead of tomorrow’s High Noon encounter with Huddersfield. That the match kicks off fifty five hours before Arsenal meet Everton highlights the depths to which the footballing authorities have plummeted.

They know Sweet FA about running the game

2011 has been a fiasco for those who rule the game. Blatter and Platini are both making their views that football should be a summer sport well known, allowing Qatar to host the World Cup in winter. If England were disappointed to lose out to Russia, football as a summer sport is the death knell of the country as a host again.

In England, Sian Massey has been on the receiving end of the lack of backbone that referees are used to. Whilst her withdrawal from the Crewe match in midweek was understandable, to prevent her officiating this weekend simply allows the media to win. Unless of course the PGMO has no intention of letting her officiate again this season to allow the fuss to dissipate.

The Premier League has made a huge error in its fixture scheduling. Everton play Chelsea at lunchtime today. None of the other teams playing in the FA Cup tomorrow has a game on Tuesday. The FA need to explain why they declined the opportunity to reschedule Southampton’s tie instead.

Equally, the Premier League need to explain why fixtures were scheduled this week rather than the week in February when Arsenal play Stoke in the re-arranged fixture? This is a weekend where games are broadcast over the two days rather than crammed into one afternoon. Nonsensical choices by TV companies are going to lead to more fiasco’s such as this week’s decision to fine Blackpool for a weakened team.

At least everyone knows what the rules mean now. You have a 25 man squad but you cannot use it to the fullest extent because the EPL are the sole arbiters of your club’s playing strengths.

Arsène’s First Choice

Arsène has seen the headline writers strut their stuff and wilfully twist the meaning of his words already this morning. Wojciech Szczesny is Arsène’s Number One we are told except they left off the key phrase ‘at the moment‘. It is not hard to see why Wenger said that. Until this weekend, James Shea was the only other fit goalkeeper. No disrespect to the youngster but at this moment in time, he is not competing for the Number One slot in the first team.

When Fabianski returns to full fitness, the test becomes more real. Arsène has to make his decision about whom he believes to be the best goalkeeper at the club. Until then the younger Pole is rightly in situ and as Wenger observed, done little wrong. Equally, neither had Fabianski so it become’s Arsène’s Choice.

Manuel Almunia returning to the squad has underwhelmed and bemused some. It is apparent from the emotive language used by his manager yesterday that the Spaniard is not going to be joining Carlos Vela in leaving the club on loan or permanently.

Wenger spoke of Almunia ‘fighting for his place‘, of Almunia feeling ‘unemployed‘ – a phrase that suggests the Spaniard has not bee injured for all of the time he has been absent – whilst the manager likes him as a man and a player.

In other words, he is holding out hope for the more experienced goalkeeper. The chance to return to first team action regularly is not gone entirely and if you play well, work hard, opportunities may arise. No guarantees but motivation at least. To place a player in a position where there is no hope of redemption leaves him mentally unready should he be needed.

There is though a need for some to show Almunia some respect as a man. He might not be the best goalkeeper that the club has ever had – he is certainly not the worst – but at no point has he conducted himself without dignity, particularly during the unedifying solicitation of Mark Schwarzer in the summer. Whilst he might not be anyone’s choice as Arsenal Number One, Almunia certainly deserves more from supporters than the abuse he receives.

Arsène’s Central Dilemma

Arsène made it clear that he was only looking to sign a centre back on a loan deal as he feels there is plenty of cover under normal circumstances. It all depends on Vermaelen as to whether he has four or five fit centre backs at the moment but surely Arsène, counting Alex Song is disingenuous.

The manager asked why he would want six centre backs on a permanent basis. 2011 has shown him that numbers can quickly diminish. However, Song is a central midfielder and whilst he is a short-term fix, he is not a long-term solution.

Arsène is right to be mindful of the ongoing costs involved with new players but let’s not muddy the waters by playing a first choice midfielder in the wrong position on paper.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on January 29, 2011, in Arsenal, FA Cup, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 158 Comments.

  1. 3rd!
    Good post!

  2. squillacci is on his way back so no defender is comin in but Wenger is considering stealing Torres from Chelsea, so i erd.

  3. So, anyone know of any decent centre halves warming any benches anywhere? Call Arsene on 087….

  4. fucking hell YW…
    i never knew that about the fixtures…
    takes the piss.
    the authorities just get worse and worse…i read an article a bit back where one of FIFA’s top brass were defending the decision to try and get the quatar world cup moved to winter..he was saying that it would be impossible and non sense to play football in quatar in the summer…
    really??? so why was it chosen in the first place…
    seems the FA are now trying to outdo europes and the worlds best in board room decisions..
    football really is run by a bunch of idiots..

  5. sorry…that should say corrupt, paid off, bunged up, back pocket filling, idiots

  6. You’re right to highlight the ludicrous state of the fixture list; it is this, largely, that has led to a devaluation of the once mighty FA and League Cup competitions. I thought December was bad enough but it just continued on into January and here we are on the cusp of February and guess what – another pointless international friendly hoves into view.

    What is more galling is the farcical practise of the authorities in fining those clubs with the temerity to put out “weakened” sides during all of this. If you thought the existence of the Transfer Window is prejudicial to the interests of the “smaller” clubs then fining outfits for utilising their authorised 25 man squads to the full is downright discrimination.

    For me this is all profoundly irritating; the governing bodies are prepared to squander time on this whilst ignoring “big picture” issues in the hope they will go away (for example, developing the use of technology in the governance of the game).

    If they only took their noses out of the 25 man squad issue, abandoned the transfer window (whilst outlawing the sacking of managers during the season with exceptions for gross misconduct), a considerable degree of stability would be returned to the game.

    They could then turn their attention to the fixture list (and maybe even looking at trialling technology) instead of burying their collective heads in the sand on the key issues that really would make a difference.

  7. The FA dictating the 25 man squad should mean they keep their noses out of any selection process of said 25 players to play any one game. They see this squad system as a way of ensuring english players get their chances but when a manager then rotates (giving those players the chances they so desire) they are then subjected to the ruling that those players are not the ‘strongest’ players available………cant have it both ways……but it seems they are!

  8. well what about the fifa new proposals to have the seasons start in march and end in october and then the international tournaments and qualifying to be held from october to february.

  9. its ridiculous how holloway has been fined for using his 25man squad in a fucked up fixture list
    his team only lost 3-2..its not like they rolled over
    i wonder why the FA dont fine the managers who allow their teams to get beat 5,6,7-nil…
    purposley rolling over is more of a crime then losing a good battle of a footy match
    bruce, mcgliesh and all the managers like that should be fined pretty much every time they play manutd….

  10. I think that Arsenal’s failure to strengthen the defence is a signal to suggest a lack of desire to win. Ordinarily, even Wolves and Blackburn and clubs like these are fighting to win the league but they won’t. What you need is quality and desire, and whilst Arsenal possess quality, there is a desire to balance books, pay off debts, but not win.
    Chelsea’s bid for Torres, which is confirmed, is a signal of intent, a reminder to Man City that Chelsea are still a force, and want to win the league. Once Torres joins them, Chelsea will at least finish second behind United, who will win.
    I ask you, for you write well: Isn’t it better to have Chelsea style ownership than Arsenal style where the owners or shareholders have no pain after every barren season? Contrast this to Abramovich who desperately wants to win.

    Arsene Wenger has become bigger than the club, his own nemesis and his own downfall. As Hill-Wood said recently, he patronised a supporter who wanted money spending and told the person to shut up! The modern fan is powerless in these late capitalistic times, where football and footballers are commodities, sold to high bidding, and the managers are no more than pimps for their clubs.

    What will Wenger know of the heartache of an away fan, after trundling back home, having seem Almunia the clown make a mistake in the last minute in one away match last season?
    Wenger has become a victim of his own delusions, and will have his comeuppance when Barca slice his great defenders to pieces soon. Alas, I will be unhappy but Wenger will gloat with more spin.

  11. Whilst her withdrawal from the Crewe match in midweek was understandable, to prevent her officiating this weekend simply allows the media to win. Unless of course the PGMO has no intention of letting her officiate again this season to allow the fuss to dissipate.

    I agree – bizarre that SHE is being penalised.

    Also agree with all the comments about the unfairness of fining Blackpool and the craziness of the fixture list. TV is in danger of killing the goose that lays golden eggs.

    I think you have got this wrong, though:
    Wenger spoke of Almunia ‘fighting for his place‘, of Almunia feeling ‘unemployed‘ – a phrase that suggests the Spaniard has not been injured for all of the time he has been absent – whilst the manager likes him as a man and a player.
    What the article said was: “He has been injured for a long time and in a situation like that you feel jobless”, said the manager, who revealed that Almunia played through pain in his last appearance.

    If you read the whole thing it is clear that Almunia has been genuinely injured, first with his elbow then with his ankle.

    On the CBs, I agree with AW on balance. A loan deal – even a one-month loan – would be best in this situation. The idea of getting someone in on a long-term contract as backup is seductive, and if we had only two fit CBs, I would lean that way as well. But we have three good, fit CBs and that is enough to rotate. Our injury situation is much better this year, and in any case, last year our problem was one of quality as much as injuries. Signing someone on a permanent deal is not risk-free either. How will it affect the wage structure and therefore team spirit? How would you feel about paying top dollar for Silvestre mark II? If we can’t do a loan deal, I’d rather have Alex Song. He started out as a CB, it’s not as if AW’s planning to play Rosicky in there.

  12. Thanks YW (& Darius).

    It’s not the first time the squad has been asked to play two games in close succession, something their rivals have not been asked to do. I hope, that this time, the necessary rotation does not bring forth an ejaculation of such volume as last time. Ok, the ‘balance’ could have been different, a little bit more of this here, some more of that there, but there is not a huge amount of choice: Biology and medical science are what they are, two games within fourty eight hours is something that doesn’t even happen in international tournaments. It stinks.

    The CB issue? So hard to have any idea of what is happening here. I wrote in November of TV5 being out until the spring, twas fairly obvious that would be the case ( I hope he isn’t rushed back ahead of ‘form’ players). Barley and Frimpong must affect the staff’s thinking I would imagine, but a thread on those two would just be troll bait. For those sp*ds who can’t understand that this squad does vary it’s tactics, game to game (“get it wide to the whingers and cross it!”), I’ll refer you to the Liverpool Home game last season. A game I was very excited about, at the time it was a little new, but on refelction, it was a pre-curser to this season, our evolving team. After the defeats proceeding that game, we saw a much more mature Arsenal against a very negative and conservative opponent. Diaby and Song D**Med about as well as any combination this season. To those who will D**M upon Diaby’s return (hopefully he is OK), well, they better get used to him playing in the ‘six’ every now and again.
    He can do it, no doubt about it.

    So sad that I missed the Day of D**M upon ACLF.
    At the beginning of the season some of these very D**Mers were D**Ming about the presence of Little Jacky. I wouldn’t call these trolls clever. Predictable? Yes!

  13. Bartley even.

  14. The decision to back track and now state that we dont need a new CB is a huge gamble. Because it relies are several variables;

    Vermealen coming back in time, staying fit and being in good form; Djourou not getting injured as well as Squillaci coming back as scheduled and again, staying injury free.

    Weneger’s comment about what would he do with 5 centre backs was pretty funny consiering the fact we havent even had 4 all season!

    Sorry for the moan, but I just feel one addition could make all the difference.

  15. As to the centrehalf debate – we are certainly running a risk by not strengthening on a permanent basis. BUT i can also see where Wenger is coming from to a certain degree. His thinking being he has cover enough with 3 fit centrehalves and a midfielder who can cover at a pinch.Where i disagree is him saying buying a centrehalf would bring the number to 6 – no it wouldnt – it would make it 5 – therefore negating the need for a midfielder to be cover. I would like him to flip that thought about and work on adding a player to defense who can cover in midfield. – someone like Vertoghen for instance.

    Now im not saying its easy but it surely would be a safer way of looking at the situation.

    For instance:
    Centrehalves – Vermaelen, Djourou, Kos, Squilly + CH who can play DM
    Therefore increasing options in 2 positions.

    Rather than:
    Centrehalves – Vermaelen, Djourou, Kos, Squilly + Song
    This in my opinion weakens 2 areas id song is needed. Song isnt as strong a centrehalf but is our power in midfield

  16. i dont get how come the FA can get away with fining blackpool as far all players are within the squad. they just want to harass them for daring to play football. wish they had beaten man u that day. they actually deserved to!

  17. Anyone know how Kyle Bartley is rated within the club? If its highly then it adds to the understanding of the boss’ reluctance to buy a centrehalf – it is the point of a youth system after all

  18. @ Finsbury

    That’s reminded me – how come we have twice been the team that has to cope with insufficient recovery time, while ManU have been protected both times? Stinks, doesn’t it?

    @ Dexter,
    he isn’t backtracking. He said he would by depending on the injury situation. At the time, we only had two fit players and we still had not got to the bottom of TV’s problem. Now we have three fit players AND we have correctly diagnosed and treated Vermaelen.

    ***
    AW’s view of the role of the three midfielders explains why he is ready to move Song back if necessary. As far as he is concerned, Song is not his holding midfielder – he is one of his two best midfielders (the other being Fabregas). We have huge depth in midfield so he feels he can replace Song there easily. Ramsey will be ready to play there in a few weeks, Denilson and Rosicky already can. And that’s another reason why he won’t buy another midfielder, or a CB who could also cover the DM role, because in his mind we don’t use a DM as such.

  19. “I ask you, for you write well: Isn’t it better to have Chelsea style ownership than Arsenal style ”
    Bahahahahahahahhahahahahhaha (deep breath) hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

    Kublai Khan, you’re an Idiot!

  20. @ Deisegooner
    Don’t know about Bartley’s progress. All I can guess is that AW must rate Miquel, since he is here, not on loan, and Wenger said he was ready for the PL. But Wenger must also like Bartley a lot because he wasn’t prepared to go over the top for Smalling, because he had Bartley. So “make of that what you will” as the football commentators like to say!

  21. James Shea on the bench has not inspired me given that he has never played a senior match. But I think he should start tomorrow as it’s the kind of match we can risk him!

  22. @Fungunner, remember that Djourou is also a DM by trade, and has publicly said he wants to play there regularly (I believe he gave an interview to that effect about 4 weeks ago).

    If we sign another CB, we can push JD up to cover Song rather than the other way around.

  23. Fungunner;

    AW saying he WILL sign a defender, then saying he WON’T sing a defender, then saying he WOULD LIKE to sign one on loan is not back tracking, obviously! I realise he has to be flexible and change his stance according to the situation changing.

    But to suggest we are fine because we now know whats up with vermealen is ahuge gamble. We may know what the injury problem is now, but we certainly havent got a scooby doo when he’ll be back! It could be April or may even before he’s fit. I just do not see any major problem with buying a CB, competition is a good thing surely? Saying that, I had to laugh at big nose Phil Thompson saying Djourou/Koscielny were pants and that Cahill is better than both of them! Clueless old bigot!

    Deise;

    Bartley is hugely rated and I hope he is part of the 1st team plans next year, along with Lansbury , JET and FRimpong

  24. I don’t think it is a ‘moan’ to write that another CB might be needed.

    A ‘moan’ would be a mini-essay on the virtues of freshly pressed clean sheets (egyption cotton, only the best!), that had no relevance to the thread in question, that ignored the mechanisims that AFC have been using in transfers for the last, I dunno, four or five seasons? Maybe it’s just me.

    FG
    Mean Lean has a great rant on his blog.

    Thw Away fans I know who drove up to Ipswich (quite an acheivment, I once went on an adventure trying to get to Ipswich, ended up in Felixstowe…) are some of the biggest AKB’s I’ve ever met. Three generations of ‘Gooners’ there, what do they know?

  25. RE: The fixture debate.

    Whilst I feel your pain, do not forget that the main source of revenue for football clubs is TV money. Arsenal have been shown on TV a lot over the last 20 years, and as such have made a shedload of cash from the TV deals.

    In exchange for these large wads of cash (which of course, end up in the Arsenal coffers), we as a club are beholden to the whims of the TV schedulers. We shouldn’t be moaning at the TV companies, we should be thanking them – a few oddly-arranged fixtures are a small price to pay for the tens of millions of pounds of revenue these TV games bring in each year.

    Besides which, does it really matter when we play Huddersfield Town in the cup? I mean, it’s not as if many of Sunday’s (likely weakenend) starting XI will make the first team for the Everton game in midweek, anyway.

    Don’t bite that hand that feeds you!!!

  26. The fixture ‘computer’ has never given me a cookie. Not once!

  27. Ryan

    It isn’t the point about the team for tomorrow.

    The Italians and Spanish clubs are more reliant on broadcasting income yet their FAs regularly tell companies where to go if the fixture is deemed detrimental to the competition / club’s interest. English authorities are simply weak and inept.

    As for biting the hand that feeds, ESPN and Sky are hardly likely to turn around and say that they won’t renew their contracts – they realise that their sports channels would fail without it. Let’s stop giving TV companies the power.

    YW

  28. @ jim

    I don’t think JD has played in midfield since he was 16 or 17, has he? Plus it makes more sense to take a player out of the position where we have a glut (MF) and put him into an area where we have a shortage, (CB) than the other way around.

    @ Dexter
    AW said we would sign someone DEPENDENT on the injury situation.
    I didn’t say we were fine, I said ideally we should get someone on loan in the short-term, but if that’s not possible, go with what we have. Three CBs is a bit of a gamble, but getting in a fifth CB is also a gamble – in practice (quality, wages, fee, team spirit etc). The gamble of going with the status quo is mitigated by having Alex Song (I take Wenger’s word for it that he could slot in) and having enough quality midfielders to cover for Song.

    @ Finsbury
    It’s definitely NOT a moan – there’s an argument to be made for it, I just happen to come down on the other side – just!

  29. @ Ryan

    Football is the hand that feeds the TV companies – however much they shell out for the rights, they are making more in terms of subscription and advertising.

  30. Kublai Khan,

    One of the great campaigns in military history was not the Roman Army, but in fact, those of your namesake, the Mongols. The Mongols took no prisoners. They went over the great wall and conquered China. They were experts in siege warfare, and had their own cavarly. They employeed a psycological terror campaign to bring their enemies to their knees. Genghis Khan, your grandfather wanted to decimate the chinese but somebody pointed out that he would make more money by taxing the people instead of killing them. You finished off the occupation of South China in 1279, establishing a dynasty that lasted another 300 years.

    Now – compare that with the Roman army. His strategy is to spend money.

    Which one is going to win out ?

  31. Kubla Khan

    Desire to win? How many tournaments are Chelsea left in? How many are Arsenal?

    Abramovich has tried to reign in Chelsea’s spending, highlighting the short-termism that underwrites the model of ownership. Signing Torres is a recognition of the fact that his squad is inadequate and incapable of winning trophies this season. This is not some signal of intent and no Chelsea will not finish second. Unless they take six points off United, I doubt they will finish in the top four.

    Wenger is not bigger than the club; he is recognised by the club as (a) its most successful manager and (b) has managed the squad through its most difficult time of the modern era whilst still maintaining a place in the top four. This season has seen them more competitive in terms of trophies and may yet deliver silverware. It may not but the squad is closer than any predecessor since 2004 to delivering the title.

    YW

  32. Fun Gunner

    I don’t doubt that Almunia has been injured but with the flack flying around and the clear signal that Polish duo were first and second choice goalkeepers, I doubt that MA has been injured all this time. Don’t forget AW has form in resting MA whilst disguising it as injury.

    YW

  33. YW
    He does, and Almunia has indeed fallen down the pecking order, but it sounded like you were saying the ankle injury had been a *total* fabrication.

  34. FG

    Nope, I think he was genuinely injured, just not for four months.

    YW

  35. FG – I agree with you re the CB situation. The club have looked for a CB but have not found what they are looking for. There is no point signing a player just to make up the numbers if he does not have the quality to improve the squad.

    Dexter, I don’t see it as back-tracking. Wanting to do something, trying and not being able to because of circumstances not within your control is just life.

  36. @ YW
    What I mean is that the interview/article mentions that the ankle injury occurred on the day of the ManUre game – the implication being that Almunia, not Chesney, might have deputised for Fabianski. So neither injury was invented to enable AW to drop him quietly, but it so happened that during the time he was out, both other keepers did so well that they overtook him.

  37. YW, our posts crossed.

  38. Wenger’s right not to sign a dfender, period. It would be stupid to pay money in January, meaning an inflated price, to fill a sixx month gap. Not just stupid but irresponsible and would lead to a lot of turmoil next season when everyone is fit. Think, people!

  39. @ Muppet

    Once saw a funny cartoon in an old magazine belonging to a friend’s grandfather.
    Picture: Sulky Mongol sitting outside his tent, massed ranks of other Mongol men in battle gear looking at him expectantly.
    One says: “Come on,, Genghis – we only need one more to make a horde!”

  40. Ha Ha FunGunner,

    According to some, the Mongol Horde was actually the Russian Army, but this is nonsense:

    They did in fact kick the arses of the russians.

  41. Anyway, let’s hope Everton kick the arses of the chavs.

  42. “The modern fan is powerless in these late capitalistic times, where football and footballers are commodities, sold to high bidding, and the managers are no more than pimps for their clubs. ”

    Delusional. Football fans have always been powerless. Players have always been bought and sold. The rich, like the poor are always with us.

    Add that Kubla then wants to join the ‘Rich Club’ where one man, one unknown man, makes the choices for our club and you have a posting from a complete fool.

  43. As regards the centre back situation I agree with Passenal at 11.57.

  44. No point in disagreeing with Passenal now, in fact. We have survived a busy fixture list with Dj and Kos none the worse for wear (thank God!) and Squilly is playing tomorrow by all accounts. If we haven’t been able to identify the right player and negotiate a transfer up to this point, now that the situation is improved, the incentive is less to do so. We’ll make due, though I think Song is very important to the balance of our midfield and hope not to see him pulled back into CB.

  45. Kubla Khan, back to Xanadu and your pleasure-doom!

  46. Great article YW!

    It is unbelievable that the EPL is the only league that has this kind of problem when the English teams play almost has much match than the other European League.
    France has an FA cup and a league cup so exactly the same amount of games but they never get the kind of game rush you can see in England and they have a winter break.
    Spain and Italymay not have a league cup but they play all Copa del Rey matches and all the Coppa Italia with two legs so the difference of matches is minimal and they also get a winter break.

    On the CB situation I understand how people can be worry about the current situation but Wenger’s reasoning makes total sense.
    You don’t want to have a player on a 3-4 year contract which will be in the stand for most of the time. Wenger has on his books three great CB that are young which will be our foundation for years to come with the addition of Squillaci the only old head.
    Wenger also has great potential knocking on the door of the first team squad with Bartley and Miquel but they will have limited playing time which is probably the main reason Nordveit was allowed to leave.

  47. @ gunnerluc

    It is unbelievable that the EPL is the only league that has this kind of problem when the English teams play almost has much match than the other European League.
    I think one factor in fixture pile-up could favouritism to ManUnited – I believe the group that Sky is part of has a stake in ManU so they have to be helped to win by favourable scheduling and also they have to get the prime TV slots, so fixture lists are manipulated to facilitate both these objectives. Also there is a mentality in TV which adores the extra tension created by “jeopardy” – which fixture pile-up creates artificially.
    And they can do it because the FA will not stand up for the fans or the good of the game as a whole.
    Just my guess – what you think?

  48. It seems that here at ” cultured”, it is not possible to have a cultured debate, wherein one’s ancestry, one’s very right to offer a different opinion, is put into question.
    The fact that an ‘unknown’ man buys Chelsea is no different to two ‘unknown’ men having the lion’s share of Arsenal shares. In fact, all major clubs are controlled or owned by unknown people. At Arsenal, the difference is that the manager is employed more as a book keeper than as a coach! Wenger is a busy man, a cultured opinionated spin doctor, who spins even his goal keepers more than a Drogba would do, and seeing that his employers are happy with his top 4 finish is enough to justify his vast salary.

    My point is that the ownership of Arsenal is content with a desire that does not match the desire of the fans. A Carling cup that is the acme of the club’s ambition is different to a club that wants to buy Torres. Any one with a name like ‘muppet’ cannot understand that!

    I do wish that I am proved wrong, that Wenger at least takes Campbell back on a loan, if only to provide cover for injuries, that his faith in Squillaci, who he believes is ‘great’, pays off ( how insulting to a football person to call Squillaci great).

    I also hope that sincere debate is not dismissed here and that people realize that even with a name like Kubla Khan, one can have an opinion, or as Hansen declared on MOTD recently, only ‘foreigners’ are culpable to all things bad in this country, including Fabregas.

  49. FG well it is clear it is not because the English teams play too many game. It seems to me that the main strenght a person working in a football federation whether it is the FA, UEFA or FIFA you must be a crook that could not care less about football.

  50. Kubla Khan – Hi Bill and James.

  51. I don’t think Chelsea’s or should I say Abramovich’s re found need to spend is to do with ambition, more like panic.

  52. “…I do wish that I am proved wrong…”

    What the phuck is wrong with supporters who would rather be proven wrong than actually supporting the team. This really pisses me off.

    Spineless cowards …and there – I said it.

    If you’re a supporter – you support your frigging team. Don’t become a defensive pessimist so that you eliminate the risk of being disappointed. if and when things don’t work out. And then say – “yeah I believe in the team and I hope they prove me wrong”.

    If you’re not prepared to support this team if we’re in a relegation fight then you need to move right along.

  53. Everton 1 Chelsea 0

  54. Bobby Pires scores for Villa!

  55. Delia---Block 112

    I suspect tomorrow’s tie was fixed on the basis that if Leeds won the replay the police would be faced with a local derby where potential crowd trouble might well be a factor. A Sunday early kick-off was probably the only sensible solution.Hard luck on the Huddersfield fans and all travelling Gooners. I am faced with rising at dawn to catch an 8.28am train to London !
    Am still very concerned that AW has not signed CB cover. We are only a red card and a dodgy hamstring away from trouble. When the pot of gold is so tantalizingly close why take the risk? As for the Blackpool fine, there does seem to be one rule for the “big boys” and another for the rest. The 25 squad rule should mean just that.I understand that the rule is likely to be revised next season.
    As always COYRs

  56. Kubla Khan – You slag Wenger off for praising one of his players. What’s he supposed to do criticise him?

    Squillaci is forth choice defender at Arsenal. Who is the world class 4 choice defender at Chelsea? Is ManU’s Evans world class? He’s 3rd choice. The current situation is a concern because we have had our most experienced defender out for almost the whole season but it isn’t as simple as just going out and signing a new player.

  57. Chelsea equaliser. Really poor defending by Everton.

  58. We have argued the CB issue to exhaustion. I agree with Yogi that counting Song as a CB is disingenuous. There is no doubt that not getting another CB is a risk. We have a wonderful chance to win the PL this year. It would be a shame if we lost because of injuries to CB. Despite what has been said there is no real risk to getting another player. The idea that it would somehow ruin the team morale and destroy our salary structure is rationalization at best.
    Getting another CB might make for a uncomfortable situation having lots of players and it might mean that Bartley would spend another year on loan, but if he or Miguel is good enough they will make the first team just like Wilshere did.

    We have been taking risks like this which were necessary in the past because of finances. Our finances are no longer at risk today. In the past, sometimes we got away without real damage by taking risks and other times we did not. We shall see what happens.

  59. Fair point, Delia – I was probably way out of line there! 🙂

    Although….

    DNFTT

  60. All of you who want Wenger to pay above market value just this once for a player should pay attention to the negotiations between Chelsea and Benfica for David Luiz. Here you have a player who despite not being a starter for Brazil, not playing in the champion’s league and playing in an inferior league is valued at 25 million pounds. Ask yourselves this, is David Luiz worth this much because he’s been linked with the likes of Chelsea or is he that talented?

    I have seen David Luiz play a few times for Benfica and Brazil and I have to say that he’s not worth that much. I’m not saying he’s a bad player but it’s ridiculous that for the price he’s going for Wenger can scoop up Koscielny and Vermaelen, still have money left over to buy someone like Cesc Fabregas and still have a section of our support questioning how he deals in the transfer market.

  61. Denilson was eighteen, a total rookie unlike Song or Wilshere, when he got into the Arsenal first team.
    Still good enough to help them finish above the Sp*ds that year.

    The GDP of a small nation, the bestest player n the world, the greatest manager in the world, (the most obviously dodgy planning application in the world – still good enough to fool rotton sp*ds like J*mes) and they are fifth in the league

  62. Replay for Chelsea? heh heh

  63. Kublah Kahn, stop crying. What you consider a cultured debate is really no better than what one would get from any of the plundits covering the English game. If you think that Arsenal have no ambition because they are not willing to pay the same premium for players that Chelsea, MU, Liverpool and City, then you’re an idiot.

  64. oh.. Bill turns up.. surprise…!! Hello James

  65. Bill, we may have argued the CB issue to exhaustion but you’re still doling out the same tired assumptions. Whether you like it or not money is an objective even for a big club like ours. If you don’t think that overspending puts you in a precarious position just take a look at the news coming out of Chelsea. It seems that their paying over the odds all these years has put them in a negative negotiating position before the first move has been made in deals their looking to make at the moment. Roman wants David Luiz and Torres but they are going to squeeze him for every last penny. And for what? David Luiz is unproven and Torres does not guarantee them a trophy.

    Take a look at what’s happening at Chelsea. They have payed over the odds for such a long time that they’ve put themselves in a horrible negotiating position

  66. I really don’t get this.. “our manager is employed more as a bookkeeper “… thing. Let’s look at the facts… Our manager has kept us in the top 4 places in the premier league despite spending a fraction of what the likes of Benitez spent and Benitez couldn’t achieve the same for Liverpool. In fact our manager has kept us competitive despite spending less on transfers than the likes of Villa, Tottenham and Liverpool none of whom have matched our achievements despite none of them having built a stadium. TBH even a cursory glance at our manager’s achievements ought to tell you that to suggest that he is in his job other than for anything but his absolute genius at managing a FOOTBALL CLUB and getting results is quite frankly more than a bit cuckoo.

    What these guys who accuse Wenger of book keeping instead of football club/ team management never actually tell us is how much more they’d like him to actually spend. Should he spend as much as Liverpool has under Benitez? Or what Spurs have spent under a succession of managers.. or are we merely asking for what Randy Lerner gave O’Neill at Villa? Are those guys all book keepers too as their teams are all worse off than ours? If that is the spending you want then on what basis are you rationally arguing that we’d be better off? As I see it Liverpool are beneath us in the league and struggling despite having paid all that money for all those players… weren’t a lot of Kublai Khan’s fellow travellers calling for us to sign the likes of Babel for 11m on the basis that it was money well spent… were they not the ones calling for us to sign Joe Cole not so long ago? These players haven’t lifted Liverpool and yet our useless lot namely Song, Denilson, Clichy, Chamakh, Kosceilny, the small brained Walcott etc, etc have seen us to second place in the league… all those unambitious signings are kicking Liverpool and Spurs and Villas asses… not to mention Chelsea.

    So it must be that these folk who want Wenger to spend wish that he follows the Chelsea’s model as we know that Spurs and Liverpool and Villa having spent waaaaay more than us are actually worse off… in which case we have to ask how do these folks intend for us to pay for following the example of Chelsea and Man City? It seems to me that we have quite a lot of ungrateful and silly fans TBH… how many of the non-bookeepers has a better record than our manager… even if you discount the stadium and its undeniable impact on team building and player acquisitions …how many managers in Europe can boast a superior record to Arsene Wenger?

    There is something quite ridiculous when a so-called fan can come on and lament the lack of spending without ever acknowledging that lots of people have spent BIG and remain worse off. Real team building takes time, patience and intelligence. It is about doing the right things at the right time and Wenger’s record is that he gets it more right than wrong… this season alone a lot of us have been wrong on the goalkeeper question and we have been proven wrong on the CB issue too. Yes, the CB question, I said it. The fact remains that Vermaelen hasn’t played much (understatement) but we have, all told, conceded one more goal than ManU and actually have a better defensive record away from home than they do… That isn’t an opinion that is a FACT. Now how many people would have thought that possible without Gallas in the team? So by all means worry if you must but let’s all have the humility to acknowledge that our manager rather knows what he’s doing..

  67. Yogi:

    The scheduling issue you describe have been happening over here for several years. TV contracts have become a huge source of revenue. International TV exposure is the biggest reason the EPL has become on of the biggest sports leagues in the world so there certainly some gain from TV. Scheduling which places the games that give the best TV ratings in the prime TV time slots causes all sorts of strange quirks. Its absolutely crazy sometimes but not going to go away.

  68. gains 25 mill is alot for david luiz.. but he has lead benfica to their 1st championship in 5 years has physical qualities as well as bieng a good technical ball playing defender in the arsenal mold.. the new brazilian coach has started him and feels hes the future of his team, he also has won a couple of portugese player of the year awards which is quite exceptional for a defender.. he is young and his price tag is comparable with what manu paid for Rio ferdinand at a similar age.. Who ever buys him sees him as a long term defensive rock for their team..that said if he comes to this league he should be expected to take a while to settle..

    I’m of the minority which feel Wenger doesnt need to purchase anyone this summer.. (hope to see squillachi play well tomorrow)

  69. correction : Wenger doesnt need to purchase anyone this window..

  70. G69:

    Do you really think they do not try to squeeze that last penny out of us. One could counter that a lot of teams might be unwilling to negotiate with us since we have a reputation of not paying the market rate. Both ideas are pure speculation.

    As Limestone says we have gotten thru the toughest period of the schedule with flying colors using JD and Kos. Hopefully Squilli will be back at full speed and all will stay healthy and the debate will have been nothing more then academic.

  71. Academic? Like the ‘I can’t count CB’s ‘debate from last season, or the Hangerland & Schwarzer ‘debate’? Or the ‘misquoting other bloggers on more then one occasion’ thread?

  72. Who has been unwilling to negotiate with us because we refuse to pay the so-called market rate, Bill? The Chelsea issue with overpaying isn’t pure speculation at all… I recall thatwhen they got Essien, his French club demanded the money they did for him on the basis that Chelsea had paid similar amounts for inferior players. Peter Kenyon tried to play hard ball but caved in the end. That’s an actual example of what G69 was talking about. Do you have an example of what you are talking about? I’m just curious..

  73. @ YW
    That reminds me…why is AW disingenous to treat Song as a CB? For one thing, don’t you think Arsene has a better idea of what he can do than any of us? And Song did actually play as a CB for a couple of seasons. People on your side of the argument have suggested buying a CB who can also play RB or CM, so why is it “disingenuous” to say that a CM could also play CB?

    I don’t see anything unlikely or implausible about there not being a defender as good as or better than what we have, experienced in the PL who is available at all, let alone at a reasonable price. Why would anyone sell a player like that at this stage of the season?
    If we get someone that a club doesn’t mind letting go, he is probably not the best quality, and we will probably still have to pay a lot for him. So why not use Alex Song instead if we have to? We can replace him in midfield.

    The reason AW avoids paying over the odds for a player is that a high transfer fee => high wages. And in practice, you wouldn’t just be paying the new player extra money, you’d have to pay many of the other players more as well. That is what is meant by the impact on the wage bill. If we use Song, that problem disappears as well.

    ***
    @ G69
    Just to add to what you said – in practice you can’t push the boat out “just this once”. As soon as people know we have paid a silly price, we will find it much harder to get value for money from then on.

    ***
    @ Joshua
    Agree again. And I always say, if you are going to compare money spent and success achieved you have to look at ALL the teams – not just those who have done better than we have in the last five or six years.
    And of course sound economic management is what the team is based on – you have to have the money first to buy and pay players. If some other clubs hadn’t had benefactors shovelling money at them, they would have folded years ago.

  74. the rumours are Wenger will pull out all the stops to get this David to good for Brazil Luiz. he will also highjack the mancs bid for Skelgenberg so along with Torres we will get the new spine we so desperatly need to compete at the top level. cant wait.

  75. btw YW only the first paragraph of my last post was directed at you specifically.
    Should have put in one of these:
    *****

  76. Bill, the difference between owners squeezing us for money and owners doing the same to Chelsea is that player valuations double when they come sniffing about. Owners know they can’t do that with Wenger. When he negotiates he always has the upper hand because he can take or leave players. Look at Arshavin’s transfer. That transfer was a massive coup considering what Arshavin had accomplished at the time he came to us. So, no. We’re not even in the same league as Chelsea as far as getting gouged is concerned.

  77. Joshua, well done for having the patience to respond so comprehensively to Kubla and his ilk. Well said sir.

    Not one of the pundits or spend, spend, spend fans have ever, to my knowledge dealt with your point that ‘…that lots of people have spent BIG and remain worse off.’ Only this afternoon I have had to liten to such pundits telling me that Chelseas’s bid for Torres ‘shows their intent’. Absolute bollocks.

    No ones biting duke!

  78. @ Kubla khan
    We dont need to buy a £35million player to show our intent. Like a bunch of men lining up their dinghys to show whos is bigger. WE will show our bloody intent by winning.

  79. How is overpaying for a player common sense and why should you do its just because you can thus becoming a part of the overall problem?

    I would believe we love Arsenal for more than just the play but the way things have been handled. If we have gotten here and not overpayed why the heck to we have to do it now? The team is progressing nicely, no?

    I wish we would cut this talk about paying big money “just because we can” out. It goes against the clubs standards and ways of doing things, why go against what you believe and why encourage someone to do it?

    Everyone had a go at Chelsea when they started this crap and now “lets join them”. The reason why teams overpay now is because some clown overpaid.

    I wouldnt mind another CB, not if we are going to get pimped though.

  80. FG

    When did Song last play as a centre back as more than a stand-in. AW counted Song as a centre back as if that was the position that AS regularly plays in; that’s disingenuous. So what if AS can play there as a back-up? He’s not a regular CB and that is not where he is playing in the team. To count him as such is ludicrous and weakens Wenger’s argument.

    YW

  81. So what, KS? Both Sagna and Koscielny won defender of the year plaudits in France and didn’t cost us an arm and a leg. This idea that David Luiz deserves Rio Ferdinand money despite not being an established international and not having any significant champions league experience is ludicrous. I also think that Ferdinand was incredibly over priced by the way. It’s contracts like his and Berbatov’s which have made the Glazers apply austerity measures.

  82. Gains there is quite difference between defender of the year and player of the year for their premier league.. I didnt say he deserves that money, rio himself wasnt worth the 30 mill spent on him.. what I suggested was he is probably the most highly rated young defender in the world at the moment and as such with the current financial doping we’re seeing and it bieng the mid season window, a 25 mill price tag for him is to be expected..

  83. @ YW
    He would be a back-up CB in the short term, wouldn’t he? AW can still rotate with three CBs. It would only be ludicrous if we were talking about a player who has never played there. Is it ludicrous to talk about Samir Nasri as a CM just because he hasn’t played there regularly for us? How do you know AW doesn’t use Song as a CB in training, for example? If he had the skillset to be a good CB three years ago, surely he still has it now.
    You’re basically saying you know for a fact that Song can’t do the job – despite that being his original position and the coach says that he can.

  84. I wish my wife had Wengers spending habits.

  85. FG

    >You’re basically saying you know for a fact that Song can’t do the job

    Don’t talk rubbish, I said nothing of the sort.

    My point which you keep conveniently overlooking is this. Arsène said,

    You want to sign a player for four years, all the others are on long contracts and then suddenly you have five and then Song is six. What do six centre backs do? Watch the games in the stands because they don’t play

    Arsène is categorically stating that Song is the 6th centre back and clearly indicating that Song is counted as a first choice centre back. He clearly is not because he is playing central midfield. If he was a centre back, Wenger would not be looking to sign a centre back this transfer window as he would have enough at the club already.

    YW

  86. Duke

    >I wish my wife had Wengers spending habits.

    Not bad as epitaph’s go. Which is what that will be if Mrs Duke ever sees that comment.

    YW

  87. KS, I’m not saying that there aren’t plenty of fools willing to pay an over inflated price for him but his CV alone suggests that he’s not a 25 million pound defender.

  88. haha thats good Gains, atleast youre not putting words in my mouth..

  89. @ YW
    That is what you are implying by saying that Wenger weakens his argument by listing Song as a CB.

    Arsène is categorically stating that Song is the 6th centre back and clearly indicating that Song is counted as a first choice centre back. He clearly is not because he is playing central midfield.
    How is saying Song is the 6th CB equivalent to saying he is a first choice CB? As you say, if he was first choice CB he’d be playing there now ahead of Kos, JD and Toto. 6th choice IS backup, isn’t it? Bendtner plays currently on the right but he is probably our third or fourth choice CF as well. CM is Song’s best position, he’s not Arsene’s or your or my first choice at CB, if that’s what you mean, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be good enough to use as backup there.

    Of course AW has been looking – but nobody has clicked, as he puts it, and he is not going to sign anyone who is not top quality, because he has Song who can play there. Pointless to buy someone to cover for a few months who is not better than Alex Song. And since we now have three fit CBs, not two, getting another one in for the sake of numbers is not a pressing need.

  90. Consolsbob,

    What really gets me about these spend-spend, buy-buy folk is that they never actually acknowledge the quite significant benefits that our approach has brought us. This Oxdale Chamberlain kid and his Dad have basically chosen us. Fergie’s interested, Liverpool are supposedly interested but still the kid’s Dad goes on TV and basically says that he wants his son to come to us! How much is that worth? Eden Hazard is quoted as saying that he won’t mind coming to us because of the way we handle youngsters. Adel Taarbt is openly regretting joining Tottenham and wishes he’d come to us instead. Meanwhile Chelsea are supposedly looking offload one of their most promising youngsters in order to land Torres… and these people have the brass neck to talk about courage? If Chelsea haven’t the balls to stand by a player like Sturridge why did they go through all that trouble? Our reputation for signing and developing youngsters has been extremely hard won and is quite simply one of the most valuable things we possess right now as a club, IMHO, but these people would toss it away without a care. The whole thing just strikes me as a quite pathetic case of mass psychosis…

  91. I did not know Chelsea paid 18 million for Ramires. Benfica seem to have a history of milking Roman’s petro dollars.

  92. FG

    Nope, I have not implied that at all; you invented the interpretation.

    The implication is there in Wenger’s words: he has six centre backs including Song and four of them won’t be playing. Therefore, Song is considered a first choice.

    Mind you, I’m still trying to work out where I’ve stated that Wenger needs to buy. Which is something you’ve categorically stated is something I believe…

    YW

  93. If we played with three at the back with only one centre back we would have more than enough centre-backs.

  94. Something is eating my posts 🙂

  95. Chaplow – wallop…!

  96. Consolsbob – “Not one of the pundits or spend, spend, spend fans have ever, to my knowledge dealt with your point that ‘…that lots of people have spent BIG and remain worse off.’ Only this afternoon I have had to liten to such pundits telling me that Chelseas’s bid for Torres ‘shows their intent’. Absolute bollocks.”

    I could not agree more, in fact I would go further and would say that this shows their desperation more than anything. The idiot pundits as usual had Chelsea running away with the title in the first 8 weeks or so but then they had a dramatic fall in form. The answer is to drop $45 million on 1 out-of-form player in the hopes he can save your season? Absolute bollocks is right. All this says is that when their team sucks they do not have the depth to rotate players and change their line-up, which is what we have. This is what a lot of Arsenal fans have wanted us to do, but we can’t as we are not owned by a billionaire!!! Just look at Ade at Shiteh, $30 million flop!!

    YW – In regards to Alex Song, AW has a good point. No, he is not our first choice CB, but he will give us emergency cover. He already wins most corners/crosses into our box by the way. And do remember we can only have a squad of 25, which we must name at the end of the transfer window.
    * 3 goal keepers
    * 4 CB’s
    * 4 WB’s (am counting Eboue as a RB here)
    * 10 MF’s
    * 4 CF’s

    Only because Vela left on a season long load do we have room for one more player on the squad. It might even be that AW could not buy a player until Vela had gone out, who can really know. So unless a quality CB, who can also play a minimum of 1 other position as well, came on the market AW was never going to buy. And lets be honest there really are not that many around and those that are may not be for ale at any price.

  97. Ah, that’ll be Yogi’s spam machine Joshua. It does that on occasion.

    Don’t make a thing of it though, Fun is already giving him a harder time than anyone else I can remember doing on here. Mind you, for the life of me I can’t quite fathom out what they are actually argueing about.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world manu are one down to Bournemouth

  98. Joshua – Whatever it is, it must be hungry cos it’s eating mine too!! 🙂

  99. Doh! There it is!

  100. * sale – although they may not be for ale at any price as well, will have to check on that!

  101. A look at the chav’s bench today makes your point Irish. A couple of decent players and some youths and how much have they spent?

    Meanwhile the ‘first team’ creaks along with an awful lot of ageing players past their peak and, certainly, past their ability to play 40 matches a season at anywhere near full pace.

  102. Joshua @ 3:14:

    Agree with most of what you said. I do not understand is the idea that if we get a CB even if we do overspend a little then we will suddenly turn into Man City and head down the path to doom and destruction. I agree completely that under usual circumstances its best not to overpay, and its best to build from within, live within your means etc etc. However, IMO its not good to be so dogmatic about your criteria that you can adapt depending on the situation. Based on recent performance we probably overpaid for Arshavin, but there has been no long term damage. Had we missed 4th place who knows what long term harm that might have been done. Depending on the situation overspending a little to get a player you need is not always a bad long term move

  103. You have to feel bad for Torquay’s GK Bevan. He saves 2 penalties and Crawley have a player dismissed, yet they still lose 1-0!!

    I can’t remember if I have ever cheered for S’Hampoton before but I most definitely am now 🙂

  104. Limestonegunner

    YW, it sounds like FG is trying to put words into your mouth! 🙂

  105. Joshua, the spend-spend, buy-buy brigade is also very ill informed. By the time they start throwing around names like Subotic, David Luiz and Hummels, as possile targets who will not break the bank, Wenger has already seen them for quite some time and is instead looking at players who are quality but are overshadowed by these future big name players. Wenger has made staying infront of the hype into an art form but these morons still have the temerity to question his ability in the transfer market. It’s quite unbelievable, really.

  106. Limestonegunner

    I expected more Coleridge readers at ACLF.

  107. Consolsbob – Speaking of squad depth, Birmingham made 9 changes from the team that beat WHam, and still managed to come back from 2 goals down to win 3-2 at Coventry. So I think the CC final is going to be a lot tougher than some Gooners(myself included) were thinking. On another note, if they had lost 3-2 would they have been fined aswell? Just wondering…

  108. Limestonegunner

    We definitely are attractive to young players looking for their first big move. Look at Ramsey coming to us instead of United.

    Chavs haven’t been spending so much the last couple of years but they haven’t been bringing through players that much either. They have a very divided squad-guardian article picked up on this.

    There are a lot of teams who have spent much without success. I think chasing the CL places can be very expensive, apart from spening poorly. Teams like us, United, even Chelsea haven’t had to spend as much annually once our core team is in place and we are established; but you have to continue to bring in and promote younger players, which Chelsea hasn’t yet done.

  109. Party at my apartment if U Shited are knocked out!! Everyone’s invited(except James and all his alter egos) BYOB 🙂

  110. Based upon todays performance, ManIOU probably overpaid for Anderson.

  111. Limestonegunner

    Gains, they might be uninformed but one player I’ve seen talked about for over a year by some is Hazard, and arsene does certainly seem to have expressed recently that he rates him. But how would any fan know as much as Arsene when it comes to players in Europe, even worldwide? He makes all of us look uninformed. It’s his job and he is fantastic at it.

  112. Based upon todays performance, Chel$ki probably overpaid for Mikel.

  113. Yogi, an absolutely superb article this morning. Very much enjoyed.

  114. Dam 1-1!! Owen equalizes Party on hold (for now )

  115. I thought that that 4th place mentioned above was ‘secured’ with the aid of RVP scoring every goal and getting every assist over the winter holiday peroid.
    What do I know? I’m just an Arsenal fan.
    I guess the Sp*ds are still bitter about that one.

  116. Bill, your plan sounds great. Why don’t you put a second mortgage on your house, sell your car, pick up an extra job and send Wenger all your money so he has a cushion in case he overspends?

  117. Personally I would fine them every time they play as surely the idea of football is to have 11 football players on the pitch at any one time.

    In my experience Birmingham have never met this criteria.

  118. Wasn’t it Anderson who said ” My hair is my Life”?

  119. Consolsbob – well put re: Birmingham 🙂 and as for Anderson, well, I just couldn’t be bothred

  120. Fuck 2-1 U Shited

  121. G69 @ 6:45:

    He certainly does not need any of my money. There is plenty in the bank already.

  122. This is interesting. Lifted from Talksport ( Iknow but it is almost all quotes)

    Owen Coyle has slammed Carlos Vela’s agent after Bolton’s move for the Mexican striker collapsed.

    Vela was widely expected to seal a loan switch to the Reebok Stadium this week but instead moved to West Brom.

    But Coyle has revealed that a deal for Vela had been agreed between Arsenal and Bolton before the player’s agent got involved with separate financial demands.

    And the Bolton boss revealed this led to him pulling the plug on the deal, saying: “It was my decision.

    “We had permission from Arsenal regarding Carlos Vela. On Thursday night we agreed with Arsenal that we would pay the players salary, we also agreed to pay a loan fee to Arsenal.

    “Subsequent to that I then had a chat with Carlos Vela’s agent who informed me that there was more finances to come on top of that in terms of another fee and player appearances.

    “Anyway to cut a long story short it was out of the realms of possibility. We’re very upfront we have a fantastic relationship with Arsenal, we always have.

    “We’d agreed a deal with the football club and then outside influences meant that the deal was going to be financially far too much.

    “On Thursday night I said to the chairman ‘well that’s it we’ll leave that’, and I stepped away from it.

    “I never spoke to the player himself so I stress there’s no fault at the player’s door or indeed Arsenal football club.

    “It’s just it was getting far too much and I thought it was getting ridiculous and that’s why I stepped away from it.”

  123. Joshua…Excellent post on the issues related to spending in the EPL. I read an article in the Independent some years back that Arsenal were, in fact, near the bottom of the league in spending.

    Having one more goal scored on our defence than Man United is something that I would not have suspected. That has been achieved without our first choice centre back! As you well point out Joshua, despite the lack of spending, Arsenal are not sucking any hind teats.

  124. Consolsbob – Very interesting post. I just can’t wait to see how the media twist this into something else.

  125. Would make my week if Southhampton could score

  126. Mmm, “Inter couldn’t meet Tottenham’s valuation of Gareth Bale”…..

    So they were prepared to sell their prize asset then…

  127. Yea that is funny Supercod, after all Arry’s protestations to the opposite they were indeed prepared to sell.

  128. Lime, I agree with you that we’re all ill informed compared to Wenger’s scouts. My point is that given Wengers ability to pull a rabbit out of a hat so consistently it is pointless to argue about such silly things as overspending on players or Wengers apparent lack of action in the transfer market.

  129. How do you know how much money’s in the bank or what’s being done with it, Bill? All I’m asking you is to put your money where your mouth is. If you feel that overspending is no big deal give the club your money and see how it feels.

  130. Mongolian Gooner

    Just downloaded the original Fever Pitch movie from the internet. Don’t know why I didn’t try searching torrent when I was wishing to watch it for ages now. Really excited.

  131. Great article about the best manager ever Herbert Chapman, well worth a read. His opinion on goal-line technology is incredible considering how long ago it was. Here is the link:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1351575/Herbert-Chapman-words-I-slackness–dog-racing.html

  132. @ YW
    He’s not a regular CB and that is not where he is playing in the team. To count him as such is ludicrous and weakens Wenger’s argument.
    To say this implies that you don’t think he can do a job.

    The implication is there in Wenger’s words: he has six centre backs including Song and four of them won’t be playing. Therefore, Song is considered a first choice.
    I understand what is going on with this now. AW said:
    “You want to sign a player for four years, all the others are on long contracts and then suddenly you have five and then Song is six. What do six centre backs do? Watch the games in the stands because they don’t play”
    He says “you have five and then Song is six” meaning Song is 6th choice, ie emergency backup.
    Then when he says “What do six centre backs do? Watch the games in the stands because they don’t play”, he means when they are all fit, referring back to the fact that they are all on long-term contracts, as only two can play at a time. He doesn’t mean Song suddenly jumps to the top of the list – he is clearly an emergency CB.

    Mind you, I’m still trying to work out where I’ve stated that Wenger needs to buy. Which is something you’ve categorically stated is something I believe…
    I did not do so. I think I said it would be pointless to buy someone who was not better than Song, but I didn’t say that you categorically believed we had to buy.

  133. @ Finsbury
    forgot to say – yes great rant on Arsenal Vision – I’d read it earlier.

  134. @ YW
    Scratch my first para – having realised how you interpreted Wenger’s words, I see that you are saying that Song is not currently a REGULAR in that position, but as you will see from the rest of my post, I think it’s clear that Wenger isn’t saying he is currently a regular – he is saying he can play there.

  135. @ Irishgray
    This bit is brilliant –
    “He had already made Bolton’s David Jack the first £10,000 player, having allegedly bargained the Wanderers directors down while getting them drunk.”

    Arsene is clearly Herbert Chapman’s lovechild.

  136. FunGunner – Yea that part cracked me up too but the part that got me was the bit about goal-line technology. I mean it’s been how long now and we are still having the same debate after every World Cup/Euro finals?

  137. Irishgray,
    Thanks for the link.. The response for the goal-line technology was awesome.. Can’t believe the response given was almost 80 years ago and nobody has done anything yet…

    FunG,
    Arsene is indeed Herbert Chapman’s lovechild.. Arsene’s legacy will be mentioned in the same way we do about Chapman’s for years to come…

  138. Regarding the Vela affair and his loan to another EPL team, I remain somewhat dumbfounded on how an agent can intercede on an arrangement between Arsenal and Bolton without the players consent. The Bolton Manager placed all the difficulties at the door of Vela’s Agent with his last minute intercession.

  139. Two Owls,

    It’s because the loanee club have to pay the wages. It seems that it’s a not a simple case of paying whatever Arsenal are paying Vela. Maybe the agent was just trying to get what he would get at Arsenal and that was unacceptable. It seems unlikely that they would try to get more. Well… who knows with these agents. !

  140. @ Irishgray
    It’s a cliche, but I’m going to say it anyway – the man was a visionary.

  141. Yogi,
    I dont know if your gunner win this one with fun!!

  142. Two Owls – I believe it was because Vela would have to move to either an hotel or rent an apartment if he played for Bolton. He can commute to WBA as Pires does to Villa

  143. Yogi,

    Can I just say that your views on Almunia in today’s post are absolutely spot on. I feel that sometimes the fans forget all too easily that the players are human too. Almunia has been very dignified and has not gone around spewing poison in anyone’s direction or briefing the Spanish press on the sly. I may not rate Almunia as a top notch keeper but I do think that his conduct through out his Arsenal career has been exemplary. So very well said Sir.

  144. I think his agent has spoken to both clubs but first choice was bolton, he spoke to them and possibly told them to match West Brom’s offer but they could not so the player headed to West Brom. This is what agents do, they use the bidding war tactics to get maximum for their player. The same scenario is happening with the Kid from Southampton they are using all sort of tactics to get other clubs to bid, and push Arsenal to pay maximum. That is way the Arsenal Chairman said he will not enter the bidding war with united.

  145. Didn’t Southampton play well today? A real treat to watch. Great goal too.
    The opposition were awful and didn’t deserve a draw never mind any more. Right, I’m off to bed to dream of Herbert Chapman.

  146. Limestonegunner

    Irish, thanks for posting that article–it was fantastically interesting!

  147. Thanks Irish, thats defo an older version of AW!

    See this phrase on transfers for example as well as the reference to character

    Recruitment is all, then. So how do you identify a potential signing?
    ‘I’m always sorry for clubs who have to act hurriedly, for under favourable conditions it is a tricky business. It is not enough that a man should be a good player. The longer I have been on the managerial side, the more I am convinced that all-round intelligence is one of the highest qualifications. Brains today are more important than ever.’

  148. Here’s a link to the best article I’ve yet read on football ‘plundits’ ever… It seems the guardian have found a pretty intelligent footballer to give them the inside scoop of what the pros think… I do wonder who he is..

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/jan/29/secret-footballer-andy-gray-pundits

  149. Joshua – Very good article. I wonder who it could be?

    Limestonegunner – Most welcome!! 🙂

    Team Spirit – That was what really impressed me too, as I could picture AW giving almost identical answers to each question.

  150. WTW,
    Bit early , wet the bed did ya.

  151. Herbert Chapman…there’s only wan Herbert Chapman….waaan Herbert Chaaaapmaaaan….there’s only wan Herbert Chaaaapmaaan.

    You don’t meet many Herberts these days, do you?

    Although….

  152. I hear Tottenham is bidding 26M for some striker from Spain? Where do they get the money? Spurs have used so much money latley. Liverpool are spending again with 22M for Suarez “a player they valued at 12M 2 weeks ago” they say. Damn im glad we dont pay 22M for a player we valued at 12M two weeks ago. Im glad we dont get ripped off and conned every time we try to dip into the marked.

  153. @joshua i did read your link but there is no journalist/author name attacthed to it. Does one have to be anonumus to critisize Sky these days?

  154. poodle – they dont have the money — yet! — they are gambling getting into champions league and using the monies they will get from that – the fact that its th ejan window means they will pay over the odds if they want to get anyone – cant see the llorente signing happening though – not sure on Torres one it looks like it might be a goer

  155. Poodle,

    I think the idea is that an currently active Premier league pro is giving his views on the game anonymously through a column in the paper _ that’s why they’ve called it “The Secret Footballer”. The article was actually on page one of Saturday’s Guardian but I skipped the first page because I thought it was all about Murray in Australia 🙂

    I’d say this though… whoever the player is he is quite a bright spark. I particularly like what he said about the inanities of “pundit speak” making it into popular culture. The number of times you end up with bloggers or commenters mouthing nonsense like “lack of football brain” as if the merely using a meaningless phrase uttered by a ‘plundit’ confers legitimacy on whatever the person may be saying.

    I’m quite interested to know who this player is…he may very well become football’s very own ‘Stig’ 🙂

  156. I should read my stuff before I post… too many errors in grammar in such a short post. Apologies

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