Stone Cold Friday: Mistaking Desperation For Intent

Aaah, it’s Friday so it’s time for the blogging equivalent of The Bay Of Pigs. Here’s Darius…

Years ago, I was arm-twisted by my then girlfriend to watch the TV premier of the James Cameron epic – The Titanic. During the movie, our housemate Charlie sauntered into the living room from work, and just stood in front of the telly, briefcase in hand, for 2 minutes fixated on the unfolding scene.

Shaking his head, he then shot off with a puzzled look, while cynically commenting “I don’t know why people even bother watching this movie. Everyone knows what happens in the end – they can’t surprise you”.

But for me, it wasn’t Charlie’s irony that cracked me up. There was a particular scene after the ship started sinking when all the rich and cultured folks were being carried into the lifeboats. The band of violinists continued to play some soothing music for these snobs, in total oblivion to the fact that they were about to meet their maker.

The drama this week and the malarkey of the transfer window reminded me of some of the scenes in that movie. While the sporting equivalents of the neo-con hawks in the media hailed and heralded the orgy of obscenity in the transfer market; you couldn’t help but think that the big spenders Roman Abramovich and John Henry were just simply re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while the cheer leading pundits and hacks strummed on the violins.

It’s so sad to observe the sheer ignorance and incompetence of those charged with imparting their wisdom on footballing matters unto the masses. The clamour for big spending beyond obscenity in football is further fuelled by sensationalism and hyperbole that is arguably unrivalled anywhere on this planet.

We all need to be shamelessly proud of being part of the Arsenal, an oasis of fiscal and footballing sanity in an orgy of excess. Of course, we will be accused of lacking ambition, lacking intent, and being spell-bound by an egotistic maniac who is more of a book-keeper than a football coach.

I submit to you though, that there’s a very big difference between intent and desperation. Intent is when you lay down a vision, put the pieces of the jigsaw in place, and follow through that vision, sometimes in the face of adversity. Intent is having the foresight to anticipate the direction football will take, and executing an audacious and ambitious plan that will see you straddle the footballing landscape for decades to come.

Intent is refusing to shirk from your custodial responsibility of not sending the club to the dogs while irresponsibly chasing short-term glory. Intent is building a world class stadium, and organically developing a stable and sustainable backbone to act as a foundation for the club to stand on and remain an elite club for generations to come.

But no, no, no – we are told that you have to spend tens of millions of pounds that let’s face it – the clubs can’t afford – for you to show intent. Look up desperation in a dictionary, and you will find that spending £75 million in January to try and buy you a Champions league spot is desperation.

When a single player costs more in transfer fees than Arsenal’s strongest entire first team, you have to ask at which point desperation becomes stupidity. When you pay £35 million for a player who can’t even pass a medical, let alone a player who’s only scored 11 goals in his entire premier league career, you have to wonder whether some folks have lost the plot.

But this is the thing, and it’s something that we shouldn’t lose focus on in the midst of the storm of Arsenal being pilloried as unambitious and lacking intent.

We are second in the Premier league, with the best away record and the best improved defence this year having only conceded one goal in the league since the draw to Wigan just after Christmas. We are still in three cup competitions, including being 90 minutes away from lifting a trophy at Wembley.

We have the deepest and most versatile squad in the league, despite the misguided untruths and falsehoods peddled in the media about an alleged crisis. Take for example the suggestion that we have a goal keeping crisis since Fabianski went under the knife. I don’t know about you, but Manuel Almunia has to be the best value and most experienced No. 2 keeper in any league I can think of.

Our defence is wrongly maligned for being too soft and milky, yet we have only conceded one goal more than them lot up the M62. Sagna is without a doubt the best and most consistent right back in the league, yet he is treated like the kid in the back of the class raising his hand and being ignored.

Djourou and Koscielny are the most agile, nimble and sexy ball playing defenders in town, yet we’re told that because they didn’t cost as much as Vidic and Ferdinand, they shouldn’t even be eating on the same table, yet they’ve only conceded one goal more. Clichy diligently anchors our left flank, and we haven’t even mentioned Thomas Vermaelen, the league’s best defender last season – who must be wondering whether he has an automatic starting place.

All this has been done without selling our souls or compromising our virtues and principles. Some will argue that because Wenger hasn’t whipped out the cheque book and jumped into the madness like everyone else, then we are lacking in ambition and intent.

Being dependent on the whims of an individual benefactor is more of a big deal than not being able to get a player who will improve our squad and is available at an acceptable market value. Paying stupid money for players in January because you run the risk of not making it to the Champions league is not intent – it’s the height of desperation.

And as our colourful Chairman puts it, what are you going to do when your benefactor walks under a bus?

That’ s what the man said. Can I Get A Witness? CAN I GET A WITNESS? ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on February 4, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 256 Comments.

  1. First!! 🙂 Early posting today, are pigs flying?

  2. Darius – Nice post.

  3. Good post. Given’s probably the best #2 in the league though.

  4. Well now that I have actually read the post, I can say as usual I agree whole heartedly. $90million on 2 players at Chelsea, after they make a loss of almost the exact same amount!! I was amazed until I talked to a Chav friend of mine. He made a brilliant point in regards to the upcoming implementation of UEFA’s new “Balance the Books” rule or whatever it is actually called. You see the Chav’s billionaire has not been hit by a bus as yet(more’s the pity) nor have the Chavs sold the naming rights to their shitty stadium. He claims that right before this new rule comes in said billionaire will simply announce his oil company will buy the naming rights for whatever figure will allow them to meet the required profit margin. While this will undoubtedly make a mockery of the new rule, what can be done about it? Any time the Chavs need to buy player all they have to do is re-negotiate the fee for the naming rights. If you think this is far fetched, remember the guy is Russian and not exactly squeaky clean.

    On a lighter note. Was really happy to see Big Al in goal for us the other day. Not for any kind of sentimental reason you understand but rather for reasons of safety. Specifically the safety of the other Arsenal players. In the last 2 weeks or so he has managed to injure Fabiansky in training by unleashing a “very powerful shot” and putting him out for the season(must have been a hell of a shot!!) landed Sagna in hospital with a concussion after taking him out in his own box and had Song limping around after colliding with him when making a crucial save v. Everton(he then kicked Song off him to run back and cover the goal like he was dead meat). The mans a machine!!! And he is only 20!! Now stand up if you wanted to buy Swarzer or Given or whoever hmmm?…….Did not think so.

  5. Heh, funny to see the offside debate raged on again yesterday. It is shame that most of the debates on here don’t follow that pattern though. YW fought his corner, and did not chgange his view (and fair play to him, why should he if that is his opinion?). When others do the very same on here though, they are subjected to all sorts of bile. Just sayin.

    Anyway, I won’t be mentioning it again. As YW said yesterday, it is just going round in circles now. And I do believe there is the small matter of this weekends game to discuss.

    Szchezny

    Sanga
    Kos
    Djourou
    Clichy

    Cesc
    Diaby
    Wilshere

    Theo
    Rvp
    Arshavin

    If you please Arsene.

  6. very cool post. you guys are so much more intelligent and considered than those lunatics at le grove

  7. Just a quick question. Can anyone name the 3rd and 4th choice CB’s for Manure, Chavs, Shiteh, Spuds and Liverpool? And no Googling!!

    Thought not but every one of their fans that I know personally can name ours, funny huh?

  8. Szezsny

    Sagna
    Kos
    Squilly
    Clichy

    Eboue
    Cesc
    Rosicky

    Theo
    Chamakh
    Andre “The Assassin” Arshavin

  9. I wish these thoughts could be stuck under the noses of some so called Arsenal fans, these are sentiments that most of us on here already share. Whilst most eloquently put I feel that the impact is lessened by the people who need to be educated by this inhabiting blogs like Le groan! But to be honest all of those fans are sun readers and talk shite listeners who believe the crap they hear.

  10. @ Darius, well old habits die hard i guess..thot chelsea was supposed to be going in the way of youth? i also agree that it is desperation.

    Torres, while the cost is still outrageous is a tiny little bit more understandable than Carroll, I hope for his sake he can cope with the pressure that comes with the price tag as he says

    @ Irish are u sure you read the post first? LOL

  11. Has anyone thought to bring up the amount of empty seats at arsenal recently? What is going on, why are these seats not being sold off at a cheaper price to get the stadium full? It is embarrassing if these season ticket holders can’t be arsed to go then they should let their tickets go to others.

  12. Good post. Excellent point about mistaking desperation for intent. Makes you even more proud of the Arsenal, if possible. And more astonished that the plundits refuse to see this. Huge helpings of Humble Pie coming right up.

    Still trying to figure out YW’s introductory remark about the Bay of Pigs, though. Are Arsenal the Cubans against the foolish CIA of the English football establishment? Or is it referring to pigs baying like hounds? Rather a scary thought that.

  13. Great blog – best I have read in a while. Thank you.

  14. well have been trying to post the above comment since when only irish was 1st poster! Oh well, he has subsequently answered the question before myy comment agreed to be posted. LOL

  15. Top notch article. Let’s hope your stirring confirmation of Arsenal’s prudence and quality is justified through a trophy at the end of the season.

  16. Great, great blog. The Titanic analogy is colourful and graphic and beautifully illustrates just how unsustainable the big “projects” are when there is no plan B for when circumstances change.

    No doubt I’ll be slaughtered in certain quarters for saying so but should, horror of horrors, we somehow contrive to end the season without a trophy, I would STILL maintain the current Arsenal way is, long term, the ONLY sustainable way to run a football club. And Chelski et al will find this out the moment they find can no longer afford buy new lifeboats in the transfer windows.

    The real test, short term, for those of us who believe in Arsenal long term, is preparing for the fall out should we get set backs on route. I still can’t get over the negative responses of some to Arsenal’s win over Huddersfield – sites like Le Grove were at risk of sinking under their payload of bile.

    Sites like ACLF will have a big role in providing the positive leadership amongst the fans tempted to waver towards the negative and the unsustainable.

    Terrific writing.

  17. Laurent Blanc has recognised the contribution of Koscielny which seems to have been missed by the anti arsenal movement with a call up to the french first team.Well done that man. Kos and johann have been immense. The media are the ones who are desperate …..desperate for us to fail. But we are going to stick the finger at them at the end of the season when our trophy cabinet is bulging and we have consigned all before us to the scrap heap. We are the Arsenal and we are here to stay. I hope Wenger refuses to allow RVP to play for the dutch team. He doesnt have much luck with internationals and he needs to be wrapped up in cotton wool as our secret weapon against Barca.

  18. Teamspirit – LOL!! Don’t ya just hate when that happens?

    Drew10 – Its not just the Arsenal, having watched the highlights from around the league I can say that there were quite a few half-empty stadiums. It’s winter and the economy sucks, plus it’s not like we were playing Barca or Manure.

  19. Hey Darius or YW – Do either one of you know what team, if any, last won 3 cup finals in one season at Wembley or will we be the first?

  20. @Irish re:FFP The rule makers have anticipated inflated sponsorship deals and their ilk. He won’t simply be able to sell naming rights for anything that’s too far above current market values.

    I’m glad that Koscielny got called up to the French squad, maybe he’ll be given the respect he deserves, but don’t hold your breath.

  21. @Irishgray, 7:55 (No Google involved):
    Man Utd: Evans & Brown
    Chelsea: Ivanovic & Luiz (probably for now once Alex is fit)
    Spurs: Kaboul & Bassong (although who really knows with the injuries to Woodgate & King)
    Liverpool: Skrtel & Kyrgiakos
    What, do you think we take no notice of other sides?

    Darius, I disagree with the premise of the post, I think many fans wanted, rightly or wrongly, a bit of cover at the back or, like myself, a player who can do the Alex Song job much nearer to the Alex Song level than the current deputies. I can’t think of anyone who has advocated spending the kind of money that Chelsea or Man City have recently. Considering we have published profits of around £50m then I think an outlay of anything less than that for top quality players (if they can be got obviously) who improve whatever area needs strengthening from someone’s particular point of view is not inarguable.

    For example, if you could get Messi for £70m, do you think that would be a good investment, given that we should have at least £50m sitting in the bank? If not, why not, would it be because we have had Walcott since he was 16? I think he’s come on leaps and bounds recently, but the Argentinian is on another footballing planet, where do you draw the line?

    Obviously that’s an extreme example, but unless you think we have the best players in the world in every poistion then I would say that it is the manager’s duty to look to sign the best players possible within the budget he has. If the profit is not being made available to the manager then we should be told so and why. And as I have said before, if the manager is not spending it and it’s not being paid to shareholders in dividends then it should be ploughed back into reducing ticket prices.

  22. Wengerball – I understand that but you only have to look at Arsenal to see a loop-hole. When we were selling the naming rights to the Emirates, we did so relatively cheaply, for the simple reason that we needed the vast majority of it upfront in order to help fund the building of our new stadium. What is to stop Chelsea from doing the same? A large chunk of money up front to wipe out any losses, thereby balancing the books. The very fact that Abramovich did such an about face in spending so much suggests that he has some idea of where he can recoup some if not all of his outlay.

  23. Darius,

    Well written: “True wit…”

    Against Newcasul:

    Szscesny

    Sanga, Djourou, Kos, Clichy

    Wilshere, Cesc, Diaby,

    Walcott, RvP, Arshavin,

  24. Bradys right foot

    Darius you have to put Liverpools spending in context, their net spend in the window is 7 milion. They got a two for one deal with Torres out and Saurez and Carroll in. Carrolls valuation only reflects the £50 million they got for Torres, Chelsea got absolutely mugged by the Scousers. Torres is not the player he was . Liverpool are a totally different proposition and will be a real test for us the Mancs and first and foremost Chavski this weekend. I think they’ll beat Chelsea this weekend.

  25. Block4 – Nothing of the sort. It’s just that sitting around last night with some fellow Gooners, huddled over a few pints, the subject was brought up and we struggled for a while but pretty much got it in the end. Was just curious, well done though.

  26. Brilliant article mate. 100% back you on this.

  27. Great metaphor and a great stance against the folly dominating the football world.

  28. ” I don’t know about you, but Manuel Almunia has to be the best value and most experienced No. 2 keeper in any league I can think of.”

    Shay Given!

  29. Great post.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – spending big (and doing it frequently) is just not in the DNA of Arsenal. Forty years ago when we won the Double we did it with lartgely a home grown team. The same was true of the 1978-1980 ‘four finals’ team and George Grahams period of success was built on home grown and relatively cheap imports like Winterburn, Bould and Richardson.
    Wenger has merely carried on the same tradition – but with a great deal more style – and now, over and over again, you hear the claim from so many other clubs that they want to do it ‘the Arsenal way’. Importantly even UEFA have said it.
    I really do think sometimes that before someone declares themselves to be an Arsenal fan they should study a bit of history, understand what they are signing up to – a sort of ‘fit and proper fans test’.
    Warren Buffet (reputedly the worlds most successful investor) once said that there were only two rules to successful investment. 1. Have a plan and 2. Stick to it.
    Wengerball is just that.

  30. @Irishgray
    UEFA will have a panel of experts to decide what real value a sponsor deal will have concerning the financial fair play rules. If this is enough to plug that loophole remains to be seen

  31. Nice one Darius.

    Wengerball seems to know what’s up with the naming rights malarkey, and hope it’s true. I do fear that they’ll all have a way of getting around this rule anyway, but the harder they have to try, the less likely it is to be legal i guess…

    Block4 –
    I don’t think it’s as black and white as that. Wenger said recently that he wouldn’t spend £35mil on a player, so you’ll be disappointed if that’s what you’re hoping for. Every year that these profits are announced, we are basically announcing our progression, and our sustainability. This will turn into investment once all debts have been paid I’m sure. And it won’t be one or 2 really expensive superstars that have been pushed upon us by Sky Sports or whoever, it’ll be a few quality players bought at a price that is reasonable and justified, to replace anyone foolish enough to leave, or cover for serious injuries etc etc.

    Obviously the team’s quality would be improved with a Kaka, Messi, Cronaldo type player, but for a tenth of that price, we can get a Nasri who is not bigger than the team, doesn’t have the pressure of a massive price tag, and grows up into a man with his teammates around him every day, falling in love with his team, while helping our team grow into a dominating football organism; rather than a hastily-built disjointed machine with some ridiculously expensive glossy shiny parts, with the rusty bits getting ever more and jealous of their shiny expensive struts, and ever more worried by the media’s lineup of potential replacements…

    I love the way we are run, and if Wenger can keep pissing people off by finding gems like Kos, Sagna etc without breaking the bank, great. Keep it coming Arsene!

  32. Block4 – I also think that ticket prices will reduce once all debts have been paid. hopefully anyway… but then again, we are being treated to the best football in England, so you get what you pay for!

  33. Irishgray

    Uefa has the power to review and revalue all contracts between clubs and companies which share a common ownership. It means that clubs cannot sell exec boxes to their owners for £1m when the normal purchaser pays £250k. Supposedly, they will enforce this until Barcelona, United or Real Madrid do it in which case the inflated deals will pass through OK.

    YW

  34. dups(reply for the last post),

    It wasn’t me… I don’t even visit that those websites.. I stick to ACLF, Goonerholic and Untold Arsenal while reading the arseblog’s blog entry(not the comments) , wrighty7 and couple others.. I have stopped visiting sites like Le Moan. I just don’t have time for them.

  35. Excellent work Darius. I make many Star Wars references and again I shall make one now!

    When the original 3 were capturing the hearts of many a terrorist sympathiser (America’s love affair with cinematic terrorists stretches back a long long way!), Lucas et al were eulogising about the strenght of Star Wars being the strength of the story.

    Skip forward a few decades to the prequels and George Lucas starts eulogising about the technology at his disposal and the things they can now do on screen.

    How does this tie in to the themes Darius discusses. Well at Arsenal the story is the strength. Our plot is seeing the teams develop on their way to winning everything. AW’s creates his characters – the superstars, his team, and his squad – in a way which is in line to the philosophy of the club, which of course is akin to the way a good story explores its theme.

    On the other hand, well you can figure that one out for yourselves.

    And yeah, if you cut through all the reasoning, you’ll see I’m a snob. I can’t help myself really, it’s cause I’m better than most. What’s a guy to do?

  36. Anybody read Arshavin’s after match interview on his personal website?? Loved it.. Some great responses..

    arshavin.eu: It’s the first time I hear Andrey Arshavin criticize the referees after the game.
    AA: And how can one not notice a ten-meter offside? I don’t understand …
    After that goal it has become even harder to play.

    arshavin.eu: Nevertheless, in the second half, Arsenal managed to seize the initiative.
    AA: I think this is due to the fact that they got physically tired. Their previous game was against Chelsea, today they played against us. It’s not easy.
    I am very glad that we were able to press them off and win. We got three points. It was a very important win. As I’ve already said, but sometimes it’s nice to repeat certain things, such victories bring additional emotions and strength to the team.

    arshavin.eu: You scored a goal. You were very active and useful. Maybe Arsene should have let you out to play earlier?
    AA: No. He shouldn’t have. There is a time for everything 🙂 But seriously, I played the whole game on Sunday, today is Tuesday. This is the first time in my career when I came out on the pitch for the second time in three days.

    arshavin.eu: It’s nice to start a month with a win.
    AA: I believe that January went well. We reached the final of one Cup, went further in the other. We are going second and continue to race against Manchester United. February? I think it was a good start of the month.
    It is important to stay in the winning mood, because this month we can win one of the trophies.

  37. YW – Now that would not surprise me in the least!!! Can I take it then that we would become the first team to win 3 finals at Wembley in the same season, if we are successful in all 3 cup competitions?

  38. The media are desperate for us to fail just the same way we are desperate for Manure to lose a game

  39. Irishgray @8.24

    Simple answer, no. All of the European finals won by English clubs (1965 West Ham, 1968 United, 1978 Liverpool) have come in seasons when they have won nothing in the domestic cup competitions.

    Arsenal and Chelsea have both completed cup doubles (1993 and 2010) but lost the Community Shield so did not win all of their appearances at Wembley in those seasons. In 2001, Liverpool did complete the cup double and win the Community Shield but all of the matches were played in Cardiff.

    YW

  40. You just had to do it eh, Goonerandy?!

    Yogi – when do the Financial Fair Play rules actually come into effect? Has the 3 year loss thingy started yet or does it start at the start of next season?

  41. @Geo, I’m not necessarily looking for the manager to spend huge amounts. It’s just that I also don’t necessarily see the spending of a large transfer fee as a sign of desperation. If the player is worth £35m in the manager’s eyes, (although it appears no-one is as if he has remarked that he would never spend that as you have said) then yes, that is fair enough given our current financial situation which is very good. According to our latest accounts we could spend that, still make a profit, be well within the UEFA financial fair play rules and still be about the best run club from a financial point of view at least in England if not Europe and the rest of the world.

    Of course, it remains to be seen if the manager’s parsimony and belief in the current squad will be vindicated or see us fall short at the end of the season.

    Also, if they reduce ticket prices once the debts are paid, I’ll be amazed. I was about to say that I would eat my season ticket, but then remembered they are actually made of stuff that would probably kill me. I’ll eat some of the unused cup vouchers from the old style season ticket books I have at home, how’s that?

  42. YW – Thanks for the answer, I did not think anyone ever had to be honest but you never know! Guess the Arsenal will just have to set another record then 🙂

  43. Geo – heh, I just stumbled across it and thought it may be of interest. Note I left no comment, as I am done going on about that one.

  44. If we look at the team, it’s pretty clear that we’ve got enough quality in there.
    Look at the prices that our players are associated with.
    Even the guys like Denilson, Bendtner who are not first-team starters, are linked with double digit price tags.
    What do you think Kos’s price would be after this season?
    Or that of Djourou’s or of Sagna’s, or of Chamak’s?
    The point is we spend the money on right people, but well before others recognise their worth and the prices go flying.
    Had we waited for a season to sign Koscielny, it’d be a 20 million signing or even more who knows. It’d have shown that we can spend big, instead we opted to sign him a season earlier, and proved that we want to win the trophies, and not the so called Pundit’s applause for Showing intent.

  45. ‘We have the deepest and most versatile squad in the league’
    —————————————————————————
    Well, this is stretching the truth a little bit too far…..
    We all know that our second stringers would not qualify to be in the Premier League.

  46. Great post Darius. After that great post a couple of weeks ago I had my doubts that you’d come up with another cherry. I’m reminded once again never to underestimate brilliance!

  47. Lol Block4! The old vouchers and season ticket books will do! 😉

    It wouldn’t take us to a loss, but he would rather spend the £35mil on 3 players, than an overpriced superstar.

    I feel very confident about our team’s strength and resilience this year. Chavs and Manure have been very lucky (injury-wise) with their relatively small squads over the last couple of years; we’ve now got a more balanced and bigger squad than we’ve ever had, and I think it’s time for our luck to prevail. It’s been so rare for us to be in a strong position squad-wise at this stage of the season, and I’m really excited about what a fit team can do. We had Sol and Alien Head last time we played Barca, and we didn’t do too badly… Let’s see how we do with this team. I’m more confident than I’ve been in years.

  48. The funny thing about Abramovich right now, DG, is that Chelsea’s young players are looking surprisingly good. If they’re really going to break the bank in the summer and are giving up on their young players then I can think of one or two that we might like to approach.

    I stole a furtive look at the reserves match the other day and they were passing the ball better than us (I know, I couldn’t believe it either) – obviously we’ve got a fair few players out on loan and they’ve spent much more on their youth system in recent years, but judging by the two matches I’ve seen they’ve got three or four teenagers who I think would be in their first team squad if the club wasn’t so ridiculous.

  49. WillyG –
    “We all know that our second stringers would not qualify to be in the Premier League.”

    We all know that’s wrong.

  50. Geo, I would say I’m confident too, the squad is definitely getting stronger with experience and age. I can’t see us messing up the Carling Cup final against Brum, at least that will get the whole “five years without a trophy” monkey off our back. Hopefully that gives the team the belief to go on and pick up some more silverware. Personally I think , even more than that, that if we were to knock out Barcelona then that would be an even bigger boost and push the team to greater heights. Nothing like beating the widely regarded best team in the world over two legs to instil confidence!

  51. Nah Geo, Willy G being a Spud is 100 % correct.

    The Spud 2nd string would just about make the 2nd division methinks

  52. Geo

    The three year loss ‘relief’ is effective from next season which is why City will make all of their major purchases before the start of their new financial year.

    YW

  53. @WillyyG.If our “second stringers”,as you say,player together week in week out ,as a team,they would finish top six.It is nothing short of stupidity to expect players to play occasionally and preform at their optimum.
    So Willy ,just do one.

  54. re the sponsorship loophole.

    It is already happening, look at Man city their main sponsor are all propriety of thir owner. I wonder how much Etihad airways and Abu Dhabi tourism office pay to sponsor Man city? The funny part is that even with those arrangement they are still making huge losses.

  55. Oh I see Gadget..! I stand corrected.

    Block, yup. The CC is definitely going to provide a boost. Just imagine Cesc lifting his first trophy for the club in front of a 90,000-strong crowd… And beating Barca will make the team realise that they are amongst the best in the world.

    Looking forward to Newcastle this weekend. Without their expensive lump, they’ll struggle to even get a shot off, let alone score from their only chance. Missing Song, but Jack and Diaby/Den can step in no problem. With Arsh Theo and RvP leading the line, surely there’s no contest… COYG!!

  56. @Block 4 8:37 am

    I mentioned in the article – and if you follow my post also, you’ll note that I’m not averse to squad improvement by buying in players. I insist that they improve on what we have and that they are of a proper market value.

    The question is whether we should bend over and spread our cheeks to an inflated market that doesn’t represent the true value of the players we want.

    You’re also taking the view that Arsenal didn’t attempt to buy a player. What if we did and failed?

  57. Thanks YW. So the summer’s going to be another mental one, rubbing the football craziness in all those affected by the economic crisis’ faces. Well let’s hope the egos that will come with the outrageous transfer fees continue to dampen the big spenders’ ambitions. The fact that Real and Chavs aren’t dominating world football must be a bit scary for Citeh, as they can’t even guarantee a top 4 finish…

  58. Great post darius. Always get me thinking hard about everything mentioned.

    Willy G

    2nd string…

    Almunia
    Eboue Squill Djourou/Vermaelen Gibbs
    Diaby Ramsey Deni
    Rosicky Cham Walcott

    That would exclude first teamers of
    Schesnzey/Fabianski Sagna, Clichy, Vermaelen, Djourou/Vermaelen, Song, Fabregas, Wilshire, Nari, RvP, Arshavin

    So yeah I think we’d get european football with that 2nd string team.

  59. got confused there. I think I meant to couple squill/kosc not djourou/verm but you get the idea.

  60. Belatedly, I’m celebrating the blogs fifth birthday earlier this week. Unlike the first day of the blog, it was celebrated with a win.

    YW

  61. Els – that’s an impressive 2nd team indeed! That, with the other youngsters that are on loan etc, would fare very well in this league I’m sure. Like someone said earlier, if they were playing week in week out together, they’d be awesome.

  62. 5 years YW – i know we are sick of hearing it but – this year will hopefully see the first arsenal trophy of your blogging term 🙂

    well played YW – new 5 year deal for that man! and bump up his wages 🙂

  63. Happy birthday ACLF!! A great blog which I read daily and religiously, which I cant say for any other website out there. Thanks Yogi & Darius!

  64. Congrats Yogi, five years of excellent analysis and a cultured round up of Arsenal news. Keep it up and hope Mrs Yogi will let you brings to us your magic on a daily basis.

    Please ACFL readers stand up and give a big cheer for the one anfd only Yogi Warrior!

  65. oh and Darius gets a new contract too 🙂

  66. *for years to come!

  67. Happy belated birthday ACLF. Well done Yogi!

    Absolutely first rate blog. With the most optimistic, encouraging voice around. Apart from the odd offside controversy debacle here and there obviously 🙂

  68. Nice post. We rule.

    Big spending is a front to convince the rest of Europe that the league still has all the glamour it used to, when in reality high-band tax rates are killing the english game. “Hey, talented foreign player! Come to England. We’ll take half your shit.”

    By the way, it’s called ‘Titanic’. Getting the title wrong doesn’t make you less gay. But getting it right makes me 100% man…

  69. Congrats Yogi, the day wouldn’t be the same without you!!!

  70. Yeah Geo, obviously they were my choices, but it’s there or there abouts. The ‘2nd string team’ would easily qualify for europe in my opinion. As you say given time to gel they’d be awesome. If you think a lot of those choices are not clear cut for first team: Gibbs, Diaby, Rosicky, Cham, Walcott are all seriously in with a shout of first team football. Not to mention the Koscielny, Vermaelen, Djourou competition. Best most rounded, largest team in the League, possibly ever???

  71. Darius, surely the market value is what people are prepared to pay? If enough people are willing to pay £2 for a loaf of bread then that’s the market value. If someone else is only willing to pay £1 then they will go hungry. You can put a value of your own on a particular player, but that’s not what determines the “market value”. If the market is inflated, for whatever reason, then that’s what you need to pay to get the best. The fact is that the manager has signed no-one, his belief in the squad is unshakeable. Dealing in imponderables like whether we tried to sign a player or not is futile, there’s no way to settle that particular debate unless someone at the club makes a definitive statement to that effect. I’m not advocating big signings either, just that if you want to buy the best finished articles then you need to spend the big bucks. Barcelona bought Villa for £35m, would you say that was desperate bearing in mind what they won over the previous couple of seasons? £80m for Cristiano Ronaldo? Maybe, but I just read an article saying they had pretty much recouped the fee last May, so it also makes cold, hard business sense.

  72. We’ve even got a balanced set of 3 keepers fighting it out for the jersey! Very rare for any team to have that. I’d be tempted to agree that it could be the most balanced squad ever, but I’m sure there’ll be someone out there to prove us wrong!

    I really hope Chezney continues to impress and take his chance for the rest of the season. He’s looked like the most mature and confident GK (for someone so young) i’ve seen since Casillas in his early days.

  73. Happy blog anniversary Yogi. I visit your site daily and though I do not comment often, I am always pleasantly amazed at the erudite and knowledgeable articles that you post. In Darius, you have a worthy companion. Here is hoping that ACLF goes on for decades to come.

  74. Again I agree Geo Chezny (I’m glad that’s acceptable as Im struggling with the exact spelling of shchcesznaesyznesaynesaeszny, i’ll make the effort this one) is definately the one i’d like to win the jersey. It’s all great healthy competition. I do feel a little disloyal about not supporting Almunia but Chezny is a beast of confidence.

  75. Right, 35 million for Carrol is a bit crazy but no one bats an eyelid when Barca pay (reportedly) 57 million PLUS Samuel Eto’o for Ibra. Fuckin’ nuts.

  76. Yeah I do too, and to be honest, at the start of the season I was gunning for chezzer to get the nod ahead of Fab. Didn’t go down too well on here..! But Fab proved me wrong, and if anything, made Chez even more determined to win his place. He’s obviously been chomping at the bit to get his chance… And here it is! Almunia was a great servant and provided some of the best GK displays I’ve seen, unfortunatley not consistent enough… Feel his days are numbered after the summer if Fabianski heals with no complications. Just having 3 goalies that can all do the job is astounding. How does Wenger keep almost everyone happy? One of his hardest tasks I think…!

  77. Block 4 – by your arguement, you’re suggesting that the market value of Torres is indicative of the fact that Torres can single handedly beat the strongest first team (all 11 of them) at Arsenal every time he plays us by himself.

    We’re not starving and won’t go hungry by refusing to be mugged by an inflated market.

    And for the record, football is living dangerously in total denial of the laws of economics so the concept of acceptable market value is a false one.

  78. “And for the record, football is living dangerously in total denial of the laws of economics so the concept of acceptable market value is a false one.”

    Tha fact that Yaya Toure’s on around £180-200k per week says it all. Let alone spending £35mil on Carol. When I first saw the Carol rumours, I honestly thought it said £3.5mil, and said to myself “a great signing, that”. Then I realised…!

  79. Geo
    It’s defo a testament to his man management skills that he can balance and keep happy three first team class goal keepers. It pays to have faith in players and promote from within on more than just the financial level.

    I have to say I wanted Almunia to keep the shirt all along but if he lost it for me everytime i’d have wanted Fabianski and Chezny to fight it out for the place. Rather that than a signing.

  80. Congrats on the blog birthday YW…

    Topped off with another great post today – very good Darius.

  81. Jabba's delights

    Great post, lovely to find a good positive blog at a time when in my own eyes the club is having a very good season. This is my first post so bare with me

    With regards to Arsenal’s reluctance to spend 35m on a player of world class quality i think its becuase he doesnt see the value once you consider the cost of the wages as well when there are plenty of hugely talented players out there going for a 3rd of the price. That to me is exactly how i want the custdian of my club to play it. Many fans and typically the really extreme ones from Le Grove (there are many reasoned fans there as well on both side of the spectrum) dont appreciate the wages that such signings have on a club. Lets say we pay him 140k a week for 5 years thats a 36m investment on top of the transfer fee. This added to the inevitable salary hike for other top performers and suddenly your looking at a 100m outlay on a player like robinho who could be a complete dud. Why do that when you can sign Nasri for 11m. Why sign Cahill for 20m when you can get Kosciellny or Vermalan for 8-10m. That to me is good management

    Every game from now is a cup final and its utterly epic. Come on the Arsenal!

  82. Els, yeah me too, I meant that I would have preferred Chez over Fab to step in when Almunia got injured.

    I had faith in Almunia, much more than the other 2 at the time, and was depserately calling for us not to replace him (especially with fackin Schwarzer!), but would never have predicted the rise to first-teamdom that Fab and Chez have shown. Wenger’s amazing foresight is plain to see again. Feel sorry for Almunia though. The timing of his (and Fab’s) injuries haven’t helped them at all. They may both turn out to be career changing injuries…

  83. Welcome Jabba, too true. Only thing is the £35m player Carrol? If so I’d contest the fact he’s world class. Other than that good first post.

  84. Els, I think he was talking about Wenger saying he wouldn’t spend £35mil on a single player, rather than saying Carrol was world class and worth that…

  85. Mongolian Gooner

    Happy Anniversary for the blog. And congrats to Darius and Yogi for the contract extensions. For me ACLF is the first and the last site I visit everyday. New posts are submitted late afternoon just before the end of my office hours so you always make me a satisfied man going home. And I thank you for that.

    And my hat off to everyone so brilliantly contributing to the best of arguments, discussions that were seen throughout the internet. And controversy creators too. Without them its like a soup with no salt.

    By the way, wish all of you happy and prosperous year of Rabbit.

  86. Yeah that could be a good call. With Almunia having once been THE MAN. Al probably wont want to fight it out for too long, bearing in mind Wenger wont want to string the competition out for too long. I think he’ll want a settled defence soon.

    And secondly with Fabi at one point being held in higher regard than Chez, if he loses out the first choice spot for any length of time he may become jaded.

    Like you say career changing injuries they may be. Let’s see what Wenger does first to settle the lads. He’ll be streets ahead of us at weighing up mentality situations.

  87. Oh right I’ve re-read that. Yeah good point. So £35m in general. Yes. Right. Sorry.

  88. Darius, you’re making a huge leap there. What I am saying is that Torres is one of the best strikers in the world and Chelsea are willing to pay £50m for him, therefore that is his market value. How you get to being able to beat Arsenal by himself is some unfathomable logic. An FC Armpit Reserves XI would be Torres on his own, at least have a sensible argument.

    No-one is denying that clubs are living beyond their means and I don’t want Arsenal to go down that route, but I think my points stand. It is not necessarily “desperation” when paying a large transfer fee, nor is it always the ruination of a club due to the possible marketing value of someone like Ronaldo.

  89. Like others, I wanted Szchezny to be our No1. Mainly because I was not at all confident with Almunia or Fabianski as No1 if I am being honest. Failing that I wanted a new keeper. Fabianski was well on his way to proving me wrong with his perfromances thus far this season, but now Szchezny has his chance. So far he is making the most of it.

  90. Jabba's delights

    Els
    I didnt mean Carrol i was just refering to major top level signings in general. The Carrol signing was unbelievable but when the seller knows you have 50m in your pocket and they dont have time to get and adequte replacement the cost will always go up. They will be a betetr side because of there activity though and well done to the owners going out and doing it. They dont have the luxury of what we have and whilst i feel our method is always referable in my opinion there is a huge difference from what Liverpool did and what Chelsea do.

    I know most if not all of us wanted a centre back of some degree. Whether that be some wanting a world class player or me wanting a useful back up. I think wenger’s reluctance was that he unlike many fans rates Squillaci. It wasnt that long ago some sections of us were berrating Kosciallny. I think Squillaci looked quite good early on when partnered with Vermalan and as a 4th choice i think he will work out well .

  91. Block4 to be honest I think it’s you that’s read the post wrong.

  92. I’d argue that City having Shay Given as their #2 is a pretty good backup, although obviously their position is a little different to our’s in terms of wages, letting players just sit on the bench etc.

  93. Yeah sorry Jabba I read that £35m part wrong.

  94. Carroll’s record for the first half of this season is about the same as Nicklas Bendtner’s for the second half of last season when he had a good run in the team. And even though Bendtner has years more Premier League experience than Carroll you’d be laughed at for suggesting he was worth anywhere near 35 million.

  95. Jabba's delights

    I would agree that Given is a better backup than Almunia but there is alot to be said for him being an excellent backup. The guy is capable of being brilliant his 1st half performance against Barcelona last year was for me the best goalkeeping performance ive seen in a long long time. I know he was at fault for there 1st after half time but at the end of the day we got a good result in that game becuase of his performance. Its when he is in goal for long periods that he gets shown up for not being a top 6-7 level keeper.

  96. Jabba I can’t think of a time Almunia alone has shown himself up. I think of the defence as a unit. And perhaps therefore Almunia as a scapegoat.

    Also regarding the signing of a defender, I wasn’t too interested. Obviously I wouldn’t turn down another Vermealen or Kosielny signing but… I seriously doubt there would be a one of them available for the right prince in the twice the price January sales window. If it means plumping for a Cahill or Jagielka then hmmm ok. They would be £20m + and it would kill off Bartley or Miquel’s arsenal careers. So no thank you.

  97. A bit of a theme here, but I agree with all of that Els!

  98. Ha thanks geo.

  99. Jabba's delights

    Els i agree all this talk of a Cahill type signing just completely just glosses over the key question is he actually any good? We have what looks like 3 excellent centre backs in the squad and whilst in a utopia we would have 4 its impossible to keep people happy. Miquel Needs to go out on loan next season and it will be interesting to see how Bartley gets on up north. His reveiws havent been great in Sheffeild but he has been playing in a poor team with a merrygoround of partners, he will learn from the experience. It was cover fro Song that alot were worried about but with a talent like Frimpong who would want to stunt his growth. There in lies some fans gripe though. They dont care about frimpong talent and want a reliable replacement now so we can win the league this year. Tomorrow will show whether they were right or not

  100. Geo
    Couldnt agree more with you on Szczesny.You compare him with Casillas at his age but what i see in him is a keeper like Schmeichel who makes saves with every part of his body .And like Schmeichel Buffon and Casillas he has that touch of arrogance which both Almunia and Fabianski never had.From 4th choice to number 1 in 4 months what a rise

  101. One thing that contributes to the general short-sightedness of most pundits is that most of them are former footballers, not necessarily very cerebral.

  102. Shay Given ??? Fucking spare me. How has he the experience of playing for one of Europe’s elite clubs so often in so many competitions? How much did he cost? Read the post first then comment.

  103. I heard someone a while ago talking about Shay Given, I think it was a defender, saying that there is often a lot of confusion when he’s in goal as he lacks communication. This is a trait that, from the TV watching fan, would go unnoticed. After I read/heard that, I watched how the defence in front of Given performed, and they looked fairly confused tbh. I think this was Newcastle though, so it may well have been that way whoever was in goal!

  104. Kelvin, yeah he does look Schmeichel-esque! I watched Casillas’ progression more closely though, from when he was 18, hence my comparison to him.

  105. Szczesny is top class and we can be happy to have such a good keeper (who is just 20) to do the job when our number 1 got injured. I feel confident with him in goal. He is basically almost the total package. All he is lacking is experience (which will hopefully come with time) and upper arm strength as his throwing is still lacking. I hope he is going to hit the dumbbells soon so that he can learn to initiate counter attacks as fast as Fab21 does.

  106. Great points Jabba, as you say How good is Cahill. We also have a more unique set of skills for our defenders to play game to game. For one they need to be able to play the ball out from the back, and that doesn’t mean being vaguely accurate at hoofing it. We play a high line and not every defender has the speed to do so. That doesn’t mean they are good or bad, just not an Arsenal player.

    We currently have 4 first choice centre backs as it is. Squillachi is not to be underrated. Yeah we have injuries to Vermealen and Djourou is playing games more than Wenger would have liked. But I think a 5th is classed as a panic buying. It would only be for a short term option. Wenger very rarely thinks short term as it can have negative knock on effects.

    Regarding Songs obvious indispensability to the club yes, maybe for the time being he is the only player that has his skill set. But again this is short term, as you rightly pointed out Frimpong had he not gotten injured could have really brought depth to this position. Pre season he was immense. Also Eastmond looks fairly comfortable in this position, and will do more as seasons pass. Not to mention the fact that Deni and Diaby both can do a great job in breaking up opponents play and counter attacks. They do it their own way but can be really effective.

    Basically it’s all good and our academy will bring through more genuine talent than Chelsea’s and Man City’s copper jars put together.

    Also right off Bartley’s sheffield experience. Didn’t they change manager 3 times already this season. Not a mark of a stable playing environment. I hope he’ll be able to make them look like mugs by doing well with Rangers.

  107. Top notch post.

  108. write off. not, right off.

  109. The media are really getting me down this year. We can be a paranoid bunch us gooners and we are of course biased as hell, but even when allowing for that, you have to say that there is a clear anti-arsenal bias in the media and this is of course entirely underpinned by xenophobia (foreign manager, foreign ways, foreigh players etc) and annoyance at our good sense (fiscally and in terms of our “modern” football culture).

    We are used to the idiocy, but with each year it seems to get worse. I simply cant bear to listen to the morons on sky these days (BBC not much better and as for ITV, well, what can you say about those fools).

    It culminataed a few days ago in that fountain of wisdom tonybloodycascarino (shite player, shite pundit…. but excels at f*ckwittery) ranting angrily about Wenger “just being plain wrong” in accusing Chelsea of hypocrisy for signing up to the finanacial fair play rules and then announcing a 70mill loss and then going and spending a further 70mill within days.

    The quotes from wenger were him at his best. A very simple, rational, well laid out, well reasoned argument based on clear evidence.

    But on the whole ex footballers are simply incapable of engaging in rational evidence based debates. They are just too stupid and ill educated to understand. They just dont get it and I simply cant take listening to them anymore.

    If you havent seen it, check out the guardians Secret footballer column. The mystery prem player’s take on punditry and the lack of technical understanding they general display was very refreshing to read last week.

    When I watch games on streams I now usually choose russian streams or from some other country where I have no chance of understanding the crud that the commentatrs and pundits are spouting, and I am left with my on take on the events I am witnessing.

    No cascarino. No hansen. no redknapp. no thompson, no merson (i adored the player, but god knows why anyone would pay him to express opinions in public )

    Bliss….

  110. Evil – I hope he stays well away from dumbells. They don’t seem to mix well with him.

  111. Evil and others talking about Szczesny and his issues with distribution.

    It may be worth remembering that about 2 years ago Szczesny broke both his arms in an accident in the gym. It will take a while for him to fully recover and that’s a plausible explanation about why his distribution is slightly under-developed.

    But make no mistake – Tech 9 is in charge of that box and he owns and marauds around it like his very own piece of 18 yard real estate. If you doubt it, ask Sagna and Song who both got knocked out cold for even doubting Tech 9 was in charge. You’ve got to love that.

    Doubters have always said Arsenal needs personality in goal – and Tech 9 comes with personality.

    The irony is that even Capello is now saying Joe Hart needs to concentrate for the whole game or he’ll be dropped from the England No. 1 – and yet he gets heralded more than Tech 9 and Fabianski who have both been better than him this season.

  112. And Darius – They’re all saying we’re experiencing a GK crisis at the moment too..!

  113. Having a confident keeper can make so much difference to a back 4. I think I heard Lee Dixon once explaining that knowing Seaman was behind them enabled them to be such a tighter unit.

  114. Great point about Chezzers arms Darius.

  115. Heartiest congratulation to YW & each contributor on one of the best arsenal blogs around, for completing 5 years!

    Now bring on the magpies please.

  116. Yogi and Darius,

    Congratulations of the ongoing success and a glorious first five years. This has been an oasis during the greatest droughts in AFC optimism. Long may we all sail in her.

    Regarding tomorrow’s game: NewCastle are missing an obvious scoring option (Carrol gone, Ameobe injured, the other bloke not on form) and so I’d hope we take it to them and really punish them tomorrow.

    We’ve got unfinished business with Pardew (another candidate for the English League of managers) from his West Ham days and I’m sure Arsene wouldn’t mind a really big (rugby) score tomorrow. Add to that the Cesc/Barton friendship and… Fingers crossed

    COYG

  117. I think the critisism of Szchezny is that of his kicking. It was a bit suspect, but nothing major. Also he has sometimes put our defenders under pressure giving them the ball when tightly marked. That said, he has already mentioned (via his twitter) that he knows he needs to improve his distribution and kicking. Good enough for me.

  118. Big kicks do help, did you see Rooney’s goal assisted by VdS long punt up field?! He’ll improve his distritbution I’m sure.

  119. Jabba's delights

    The media bias is horrible. On wednesday the program ”your on sky sports” had Jason Cundy and Cascarino as presenter and pundit. Both huge Chels fans how can you get any sort of perspective on that.

    I also watched the football first after Tue game and Tony Gale punditry was appalling. You would think our defence had conceded twenty more than utd this season with the way they are spoken about

  120. ————–Tech9————–
    Sagna—–SS—–DJ—–Clichy
    ——-Denilson——————–
    ———————Diaby———-
    Theo———–Cesc————AA
    —————RVP——————

    Bench : MA, NB, MC, EE, TR, LK, JW

    A R S E N A L

  121. When does SS’s suspension start?

  122. Jabba, I believe the best Sky pundit is our Charlie!!

  123. Els, he served his 1 game suspension by missing the Everton game, I believe..

  124. Jabba's delights

    Frimpong has been named in the new 25man champions league squad, plus he posted on his twitter something about being late for training. I thought his injury would take him 8-9 months to come back?

  125. 5 years of posting almost everyday; I am impressed. Live long and prosper ACLF, YW, and all the many contributors.

    Anyway, enough of the congratulatory stuff.

    We’ve got to put Newcastle to bed like an aupair and stuff Barca like a taxidermist

  126. jabba

    Nowadays rehabilitation given to professional sportsmen has reduced the healing process of cruciate ligament injury to about 6 month so he might be ready before the end of the season. I can’t give name without researching but I remember that in the last two or three years, a few players have come back in training in about 6 months.

  127. @Goonerandy
    For me his kicking has already improved in recent games. He did not have to rely on playing short passes only and that is a good sign. But I still think that his throwing needs some improvement. I remember Fabianski initiating countless attacks by throwing the ball from his box past the half way line. Directly in they way of one of our players on the break. Fabianski’s “passing” with his arms is almost Cesc-esque when it comes to his precision. But Darius has explained why Szczesny’s throwing is lacking and I now understand why he might need another year or two until he is up to the standard.

  128. Oh really MJ that was easy.

    Jabba, I’d heard he was back training, that’s great he could play a decent part in the season.

  129. Excellent news, Jabba’s delights!!
    Fantastic pre season from the guy & I am Arsene had that in minnd while deciding not to sign a CB. This is simply marvelous news!! 😀

  130. I am sure *

  131. Jabba's delights

    Gunnerluc

    Cheers for the info. Quite remarkable if he were to be in full training by the end of feb. The guy looked brilliant in pre season and almost just as ready as Wilshere in his particular role to handle the hustle and bustle of the prem.

    Slightly different subject but its benig discussed at work now. What you guys think Wenger will do with the likes of Denilson, Eboue and Rosicky in the summer if any? Our squad is starting to look very big for next year with these quality youngesters coming through

  132. Check out the part on Proposed Demolition, near the bottom of the page…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ewood_Park&oldid=409184496

  133. Oh, Gadget, you and your oh pears. Ethically and aesthetically I don’t like stuffed or skinned animals, I guess an exception can be made in the case of Barcelona. but can someone explain, what does a Barcelona look like?

    Question: my wife and I have decided to take on a second team. Yes, I know I know, it’s a big responsibility. Lifelong, if Arsenal is anything to go by. But, which one? I am tempted by CBob’s Argyle because of CBob, but I know nothing of Argyle, have never watched this team, and I don’t even know where Argyle is. It sounds vaguely Scots to my ignorant ear, but this can’t be right because CBob pops in once in a blue moon (when he gets thoroughly pissed off with premier leaguery). I digress. Years ago, it was briefly Ipswich, also because of a pal. May ACLF pundits please point me in the right direction. My criteria is this: must at least attempt to play football. No horizontal stripes (or hoops) as Frank called them once. No sugar daddy owners, be they oil moguls or property tsars. Can be any league, but I prefer an english one. Alternatively, can CBob give brief description of the location of Argyle and perhaps a name, like its captain or manager.

  134. Evil, speaking of counter attacks – you remind me of the away game against Wolves this season.

    Fabianski made a world class one handed save – possibly one of the contenders for the save of the season – and in one swift move, he was up and unleashing the ball – and 3 seconds later, Chamakh was bearing down on the Wolves goal to score our second of the night to claim all 3 points.

    Priceless.

  135. Oh yes, well done YW. Hope you and Mrs YW are celebrating.

  136. She deserves it, I know.

  137. Is that a spoof, YW??
    LOL, Fucking unbelievable

  138. Darius,

    I remember that counter-attack.. It was awesome.. And if I remember it correctly, Fabianki celebrated that goal as if he scored it..

  139. Has to be a joke YW!!!

  140. Thierry Bergkamp-Wright

    Happy 5th Anniversary ACLF!!! Long may you continue to illuminate us with literary magic and eruditious analysis. As a fairly, recent entrant into the world of soccer (oops, football, I meant) blogging, from what I’ve seen, your inimitable style, eclipses all else that is around. By far.

    One, also, can’t omit the facile and indelible contribution of my fellow respondents to ACLF’s daily posts. Each and everyone of you make me feel EXTREMELY proud to be a Gunner.

  141. Schewnznznzny’s throwing might not be that good, but around May, a celebratory party, perhaps after a game, he’ll throw up just fine.

  142. YW @ 2:34,

    You couldn’t amke it up: although someone obviously did!;~)

  143. It looks like a joke but I am sure many people have already asked about it so it could well be genuine.
    I must admit I have already dreamed having Arsene at my wedding but my girlfriend would chop my head off if I even mentionned that it was possible to get married at the Emirates!

    I’ve seen this documentary about Boca Junior and many people have their ashes spread around their stadium. It is forbbiden but in the documentary you could see people take the tour of the stadium with their dead relative’s ashes in the pocket and throwing it discreetly on the pitch!

  144. to those who don’t know although theo has recovered apparently Arsenal will be without Denilson, Samir Nasri and Alex Song for the trip to Newcastle..

  145. Darius, a lot of blokes pretend their girlfriends had to arm-twist them to watch titanic. I found the bit with the string quartet the best and most poignant myself.

  146. Well Done YW and the crew on ACLF.. Keep it on. i read everyday even when i cant comment often due to work pressure.

    Well Done and Congrats. may this 5th year be crowned with trophies. LOL

  147. Saw this on the BBC site… “Snoods may be banned in football”
    I think I get the point about the danger of someone grabbing the snood when on top speed motion or else cant see where the problem is especially during the winter

  148. Darius:

    Well written as always. Agree with your assessment of our improved team defense. I commented on that yesterday so I will not repeat. Needless to say its great to see us playing this well at the back. Hope it a permanent change. Agree with Andy regarding the importance of solid goal keeping behind the defenders.

    I agree with Block 4 with regards to spending. He/she puts makes the points very well. It seems that anyone who asks of us to sign a player is immediately lambasted for wanting the club to spend itself into oblivion which is certainly not the case. There may be a few idiots who advocate that approach but most want us to spend with the idea of long term sustainability. I think there is a happy medium between what we do and what Man City/Chelsea is doing. The position of that “happy medium” is a matter for debate. Some of the hyperbole and over the top analogies used by the radical anti-spend faction reminds one of the hyperbole used by some segments of media when talking about Arsenal.

  149. Awesome post … Darius…. Title coming to Gooner Land this year.

  150. Well, I’d just like to thank everyone for the truly overwhelming response to my call for proposals on my second team. It’ll be such fun to share with my wife and little boy all these amazing and diverse suggestions, delivered with the usual ACLF wit and flair for the totally unexpected. I am touched. I barely know where to start on this list. Wow! Gee. Gosh. Happy days!

    Don’t we owe Newcastle a thrashing of all thrashings, a thrashing through the tunnel of despair via the pit of sorrow all the way to the grim gates of hotel humiliation. I kind of thought we did. We must not let them down.

  151. LOL ZimPaul – mine was under duress.

    She threatened to withdraw essential services if I didn’t do the whole romantic cuddling on the sofa thing. Things we do for love, Eh

  152. COYGs and Ms!

  153. And great use of the word Crud by Paddy earlier – a much underrated word!

  154. Zim
    the other teams I have a soft spot are not from the UK so I don’t know if it is any interst for you are
    Evian Thonon Gaillard FC, formely known as croix de savoie FC who are currently leaders of Ligue 2 in France after a rapid rise from CFA which is the 4th division with promotion 2 years running after the CEO of Danone and his friends Zidane, Dugarry and Lizarazu bought the club. They also kicked out Marseille out of the Coupe de France. I follow them because they are the team from where I live.
    Otherwise Real Sociedad in la liga who are the team from San Sebastian in the Basque country where I also lived for a bit.

  155. Bill – don’t we do that already? The middle ground? Arshavin, Nasri, TV5, Kos, for example… They were all over £10mil. They are all top quality.

    Is ‘middle ground’ buying a player for £20mil or more? Like Sp*ds?

    Personally, I would rather we didn’t spend and upset the apple cart and be challenging for EVERY competition, with nothing but improvement on the horizon. Rather than bring in someone who will be on higher wages than those who have served the club for years before him, who will come with added pressure because Wenger would have broken his pattern and paid big (imagine the media frenzy if he spent £20mil plus!!) – they’d be saying things like “Wenger goes against his life long spending policy” “Has Wenger’s plan failed??” and other shite like that.

    If you can see that our ‘reluctance to spend’ is detrimental to our current team’s progress, please point it out. If you can suggest players that will fit into the Arsenal way without the above burdens, please tell us who they are.

  156. But Arsenal is the club that I am obsessed with the other two I just look out for their results.

  157. And Bill – There is nothing to suggest that our model isn’t working – other than the fact that we’re a mere 2nd in the league – at this point.

  158. Merci beaucoup GunnerLuc. Sounds just about right. Both.

  159. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Happy belated Birthday, YW. This site is top notch and your masterful use of the English language is something to behold. You’re a legend. Shout outs to all the regulars who have weathered storm after storm and still remain positive and supportive. This blog is a class apart just like the club most of us here admire and support.

  160. @ Geo – Well said, Sir!

  161. Might be late in the game but I just spotted this…

    ‘The absurdity of Villa’s contest-restoring goal shortly after half-time wasn’t the failure of the game’s officials to consult on John Carew’s offside position and reach the obvious conclusion that he was interfering with play but the fact that not a single Arsenal player demanded such a consultation take place. A case in contrast: the Spurs players hounding Mike Dean into awarding their offside goal at Fulham in September. Lukasz Fabianski couldn’t not see that he was blocked, yet he remained bewilderingly mute’ –football36 Winners and Losers, November 29.

    The sad truth about dark arts is that they often work – which, presumably, is why they are termed an art. It is also a sad truth that, for all the opprobrium which has rained down on the Arsenal captain for his alleged half-time rant against Lee Mason and his assistants, the unfortunate reality is that Arsenal do too little protesting.

    Compare and contrast, for immediate illustration, the 20-man protests in the Charlton-Colchester game on Tuesday night to the sight of a lonely Fabregas objecting in conspicuous isolation to the three overtly-dubious decisions the Gunners endured in the past week: the remarkable drop-ball incident against Ipswich, the scandalous inconsistency of Mark Clattenburg when half-applying the professional foul rule in the Huddersfield game, and Everton’s offside goal. Incredibly, as against Villa in November, no other Arsenal player thought any of those aberrations was worth disputing – which is probably why they kept on occurring.

    Too nice for their own good? Afraid so. As the bewildering events at the Valley testified – when Colchester’s ‘offside’ ‘goal’ was disallowed, then awarded, then disallowed again – match officials are cravenly susceptible to pressure and any team that plays by the rules by playing fair only cheats themselves. Fabregas may have acted badly in the Emirates tunnel, but, sad to report, he was leading by a bad example that a few of his team-mates ought to copy on the next occasion they are so obviously wronged.

  162. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Oh and this goes without saying but I’ll say it anyways. Another fine post, Darius.

  163. Zim it has to be Hartlepool United mate. Has to be. Wikipedia them. B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L-!

  164. Zim i’ve posted an Idea. But it’s in moderation I guess.

  165. I’ll try again Hartlepool United. Wikipedia them.

  166. Our team is reaching the point where anyone who suggests spending big (or ‘middle’ depending on how you view things) in adding to the team obviously doesn’t appreciate the position we are in, either that or they don’t understand how to read a league table, or how a knock out competition works. We already have a team that is fighting on all fronts for every trophy going.

    If Wenger sees someone who fits our system, will improve on what we have already and is not part of this insane culture of inflated values, then he will buy them.

    Of course I’ll get excited if he brings someone in, but my excitement will be because I have absolute faith in Wenger and his scouting team’s research, meaning that this player is obviously class and nothing but an improvement to the team. I probably wont have even heard of the player, but that’s fine by me. My favourite player, Sagna was a completely new name for me – now he’s top of my list of current Arsenal greats. Who the fuck is Koscielny? Who the fuck is Song? Eboue? Vieira? Toure? etc etc etc.

  167. cheers mj – rant over…!

  168. @ Darius
    Great post. I smell panic too, especially at Chelski.

    ******
    @ Block 4
    The answer to your argument is in two words. Andrei Arshavin. Top class player. Many fans wanted him as a big-name signing to push us over the line. He improved the team, but did that purchase on its own get us a trophy that year? Why not? Would it have made any difference if we’d spent £24 million on him? Is the answer to buy more players like him? If so, that blows the argument that we just have to buy a higher-priced player once. And in any case we could not afford to buy our squad, or even half of it, all at once, at “market” valuations. So we have to improve our squad by developing players, supplemented by judicious buys at the lowest possible price. The reason we are in such a great position now is because of a general natural improvement of the entire 25-man squad.

    Market value is, as you say, whatever people will pay. That doesn’t mean the prices aren’t daft, though – the situation is analgous with the housing market boom.
    “If the market is inflated, for whatever reason, then that’s what you need to pay to get the best.”
    This is wrong – the transfer fee is made up of many factors, including length of contract and age of player, whether the club needs to sell, if the player is unsettled etc, it’s not purely based on their ability. So you could buy Player X for a lot less than Player Y simply because Player X is nearer the end of his contract. You say Wenger’s duty is to buy the best available – our squad is what that looks like in practice. High price does not = high quality.

    Just because we can afford something, it does not mean that is the best use of the club’s money. Our financial reserves are not infinite, so £15 million more spent on a new player means £15 million less to spend on improving the contracts of players like Nasri, who we know fits in and delivers for us.

    It seems to me that the view of some of those who are unhappy with our level of spending comes down to two questions: whether or not you believe that Wenger genuinely thinks that, barring Messi et al, there are no better players available than what he already has, or whether you think he just doesn’t want to spend. (So why wouldn’t he want to spend? He gets paid anyway.) From what I have seen of the English leagues, I find no difficulty in believing that AW rates our players highly. The other question is whether a player who costs more than another is necessarily better. He isn’t.

  169. Very glad to Zp. The club is Plymouth Argyle, located in the city of my birth.

    They play at Home Park, our mnager is Peter Reid and our captain and Carl Fletcher our captain.

    Argyle have always had a tradition of playing decent football although a couple of managers, Pulis for a very short while for instance, played the long ball game. Malcolm Allison was once manager, twice in fact, but was sacked for allegedly, ahem, havingaffairs with the players’ and Directors’ wives.

    The name Argyle has disputed origins. Some say it was formed by some officers of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders while stationed in the City but the more likely, I think, is that they were formed at a meeting in Argyle Terrace.

    We have never won much, one FA Cup and one league Cup semi but have spent most of our time in the old second division.

    Paul Mariner once graced our team. I watched Pele play there back in the early seventies for Santos and I have spent many youthful evenings and afternoons on the terraces.

    Oh, and we play in Green and black. Now called the Pilgrims, thanks to a Malcolm Allison makeover, we were previously ‘The Dandies’.

    A decent club brought low by the ambitions of unscrupulous men.

  170. That is an interesting article, wengerball, but it was posted last night as well.

  171. Geo great post. That’s it isn’t it. The way they are brought in and through the team. As fans we feel like we have more ownership of them. I think I have more respet for Song, compared to what your average chav has for Essien.

  172. @ ZP

    Arsenal Ladies? They are a smaller team…

  173. @fungunner I thought it might be late, sorry.

  174. Bill – how you doing my good friend.

    I agree with you about our defence, getting better and better.

    Also, you will agree with me when I say signings that improve the team are welcome and a necessary part of the development of this wonderful squad. I have said it today and many times before, that I am not averse to signings that refresh or improve the squad.

    What I have specific issue is the signing for the sake of signing, or the signing to appease those who clammour for signings or the signing of any player beyond what is a reasonable fee for the players ability. Wenger always signs the players he considers essential to the team on the first week of July every single season. If you look at his pattern, these are the players that are seen as Key to Arsenal’s development. They will have been scouted extensively and they will have been planned for. Arsenal doesn’t buy players out of desperation.

    Koscielny, Chamakh, Vermaelen, Nasri, Sagna, Rosicky et al – all joined Arsenal in the first week of July – giving them enough time to develop with the squad pre-season. If you know Arsenal, then you’ll know that Arsenal transfers will have been this meticulous. Those who join in in the last few days of the transfer window and in January – like Diaby, Walcott and Arshavin are being bought to supplement the squad or if they represent damn good value ala Arshavin. But Arsenal’s key signings always come in the first week of July.

    Coming back to my point about this last transfer window; the issue is not that our CBs are not good enough – Wwe have 3 very good CBs in Djurou, Koscielny and Vermaelen. Of the top flight clubs, Squillaci is possibly the most experienced 4th choice CB in the league. What else do you want.

    Yes – it is essential that we have the numbers, but you have to balance that with the rehabilitation of injured players and their estimated return dates, as well as with the promotions from the youth setup like Miquel and Frimpong.

    So – if we would have found someone prepared to be a backup CB for the right price to fill in – then fine. But I’d rather have Djouru, Koscielny, Vermaelen and Squallaci any day of the season.

    In case people haven’t noticed, they’re doing a damn good job too.

  175. I see David Moyes wants to draw a line under the whole Cesc in the Tunnel incident. After he’s had his say, of course…

  176. Moyes just wont let it go will he? Really showing himself up to be a cry baby who is taking every little thing to heart. He must be under some severe pressure regarding his job eh?

  177. Good afternoon AKBs, time to snap you all into reality. After a few days of hyperbole, we will be dropping points tomorrow – FACT. All this talk about “Project Youth” and dissing trophies whilst what is actually going on a drip feed of bonus payments just like at the house of commons being made to all the top echelons of arsenal management, starting with Wenger. Going back to youth, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while. We need to ship out JET,Diaby, Eboue, Denilson, Almunia, Randall and Rosicky and replace with some world class players. Yes Arsene ! World class players – not unproven potential who appear on an article on Young Guns saying that they warmed the bench in a sunny country. With Diaby and Denilson in the team, Newcastle will be guaranteed 3 points tomorrow. This will expose who whole 10 years of Wenger failure and be a wake up call to the AKBs who believe that the sun shines on Wenger’s arse. We need a master tactician like Mourinho or Koeman. Not a prima ballerina like Wenger, who believes that football all about movement. Even Myles Palmer said that Wenger knows nothing about tactics. I mean, Myles Palmer is a wanker who doesn’t support arsenal, we all know that, he writes like a shitbag too. Geoff and Pedro piss on him every day of the week. Anyway, sign that CB and DM Wenger, then you will tell me that I was right all along, because I was.

  178. Am sitting watching the Everton game again. NB52 has just come on and interestingly the first thing he does is tellAA that they are switching to a 4-4-2 formation. I did not catch the exchange first time round but then we were losing at the time, so was a bit distracted screaming abuse at the pox of a ref!

  179. Sorry Muppet, left the rose-tinteds on again… My bad…!

  180. must have been B52s decision to switch formation – we know wenger doesnt DO tactics – he just blags his way through games

  181. @ Muppet and DeiseGooner
    ha ha

  182. Muppet shut up. FACT!

  183. Irish, where do you watch the games again? Is there a link?

  184. Jabba's delights

    GEO
    I think your spot on. Whilst its obvious there is great debate as to whether to spend of not i always question people who demand signings by asking who and why him. Remember the goalkeeping debate in the summer. Poepl chucking names out there regardless as to whether they were any good or not. Reina, Shwarzer, Hart all had there names come up Reina and Hart woud have cost huge amounts and both have had poor seasons. Almunia made one mistake this year and was ravaged by many. The same goes at centre back. Cahill, Sahko, Samba, Mertecker, Hummels have all been linked but are any of them better than what we have, and if not is it worth spending 10-15-20m on a player that upsets the dynamic of a squad that to me is functioning very well.

    When people call for world world class players i goten wonder what they mean, do they mean genuine world class players or expensive ones. I want quality players to add to the squad but at the right price and on the right wages as to make exceptions once is can lead to the downfall of a house that i think is coming along just beautifully

  185. Mj_Gunner – No link, I have DVR so can record any game that is on tv and watch it whenever. Still have the Chelsea game, have watched that a few times 🙂

  186. Yep world class = expensive. Good point Jab, can I call you Jab?

  187. MJ_gunner you could try veetle though.

  188. “Manchester City’s England goalkeeper Joe Hart has confided in friends he fears being dropped for the Manchester derby after a series of below-par displays”

    ….And there goes the world class poster boy…

  189. Oh dear. Never mind though. He’ll only have to make 1 half decent save and he’ll be back as the apple of every journo’s eye.

  190. Muppet, you should kick it up a notch and start working the adultery angle in. The truth has to be told; if our glorious leader can’t be trusted not to be a dog, he can’t be trusted to run our beloved club. Especially not when France, his only real love, is dangling incentives in front of his nose. Evidence of another backhanded deal this week; Laurent Koscielny, part of the worst defence since the Maginot Line, suddenly makes the France squad.

  191. WHats wrong with Moyes? Seriousley, is he retarded or something? He now goes out and sais who do you belive? me or arsene? and then justifies what he is done? i have never ever encountered such a cowardly manager before.

    He feels Cesc questioned the integrity of Everton? What ever integrity the man(moyes) and his club had vanished after his dissapointing rant yesterday. Does he not understand that? Is he stupid?

    Ok thank you for listening, i really needed to get that off my chest. now i can happily go back to drinking wine 🙂

  192. Jabba's delights

    Els

    Jab is absolutley fine. I just think sometimes people think world class players are everywhere and that there is no risk. Plus just beacuse a fee may be large it doesnt ment the player to be world class. Luiz cost 2o odd million and was playing brazilian 3rd division football 2 years ago. Its a huge gamble and whilst im not saying he wont be a huge success a club like ours cant afford to take such gambles. Cahill the same. He may go on to be a great but can we afford to spend most of our budget on one player in a position where it appears 3 have starting quality guys already. If you read le grove many on there want the world class players and yet demand wenger to sign Sahko, Hazard and Cahill. My problem being are any of them world class and would any instantly command a place in our starting 11…….im not so sure. We have a really good side an whilst i think we can have better squad players than Denilson, Eboue and Rosicky my lust if you like is tempered by the fact that players like these are established charchters in the squad are happy ish with there role and fit nicely into the wage structure. Every squad in world football can be improved in depth or with extra quality but that doesnt mean spending 20m in a hyper inflated market to improve the team potentially at a time whenits playing very well. All this talk of 1st and 2nd elevens creates the problem. We need players who can enter the system and perform and i feel we are starting to see that

  193. Our glorious leader got his copains at the FFA to pull a few strings – qui pro quo for establishing the London branch of Clairfontaine. AW is trying to trick people into thinking he can still spot talent by pointing to Koscielny’s newfound international status. Stinks to high heaven.

    OK, I’m going to stop now!

  194. The way Moyes was on about what Cesc said, you’d think Cesc called the referees mother a garden tool.

    This isn’t worth losing sleep over. Questioning Everton’s integrity? Questioning whether the ref was on Everton’s payroll? FFS – I know a lawyer who can use the match video as evidence to make a case that Mason was on Everton’s payroll.

    Cesc should be given a phucking medal for saying what he said. Give these phuckers an inch – they’ll take a country mile.

    We have room for this nasty – I’m not taking any more nonsense streak from our players ala Sagna taking the law into his own hands since referee after referee blatently refused to stop the assaults on him. If they’re not going to do their jobs, we have to protect ourselves.

    As Wycleff John eloquently says:

    “You let a man kick you 4 times, they’re gonna kick you 4 times,
    You let them kick you twice, they’re gonna kick you twice,
    You let them kick you once, they’ll kick you once,
    You break the motherphuckers legs off, they ain’t gonna be no more kicking going on.”

  195. Millitant Darius. I like it. I have to say I did love Sagna’s snapping of his usual calm temper. It proves they know they are sooo close to trophies. Within scrapping distance.

    Jab it’s right. Expense doesn’t mean the player will be an instant fit, hit or success. In fact surely promoting youth is less dangerous but possibly takes longer. When thinking of fans who call for such and such to sign, I always think it’s a case of the grass is always greener on the other side. Take for instance one of our supposed squad players Denilson. If he played at Man Utd (and I know he’d walk into the team) the press would love him as… he plays for Man Utd. Therefore the press tells your average braindead fan that he’s a good player. If deni played for any other ‘major’ team our fans would kill for his £20m signature. I honestly think that. Some fans just like lusting after supposed hero players, very childish really.

  196. moyes says cesc was calm and calculated and that his team would have had a better chance of winning if cesc had been sent off, what wonderful compliments from a lesser manager.. its pleasing to hear cesc is calm and calculated on and off the pitch..

  197. Is it that it is just convinient for Mpoyes to rant or what?

    AW clearly said things said in the tunnel should remain there and should not be brought up outside of it as the unwritten law… so how come it is our player that broke that rule and not himself bringing up the fact the he thought cesc should have been sent off – although he didn’t want to talk about it? thats like throwing a red cloth at a bull.. there was no way that issue would have been left alone until someone got the exclusive of revealing what was actually said and he knew this surely?!

  198. am everton player who wanted to remain un named claimed cesc was screaming down the tunnel asking how much did they pay the ref so surely he could not have been talking to the ref but rather to whoever he thought paid the ref? or better still to whoever cared to listen, which in this case was moyes and his players and not the officials

  199. When exactly did Moyes achieve integrity? Or Everton for that matter? As our old friend Inigo Montoya would say:”You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” A stupid rant from a stupid manager at a stupid club who has never won a single trophy after how many years in charge? He makes ‘Arry look like the genius both he and the media believe him to be, which he is not, he simply buys players instead of paying taxes. Mmmmm…..maybe he is a bit of a genius when you think about it.

  200. Team spirit – Wether they want to or not the vast majority of Everton players will always be un-named as they suck.

  201. i have a question acfl`s,is john cross an arsenal fan?

  202. LOL @ irish… they have quite some namable players! Come on!

    point was he Moyes started ths thing and i guess he trusted his press cronies to run with it. Now AW can come out more stingly than they are used to and they have a problem.

    So now it has shifted to the 4th official and no longer the ref that cesc spoke to?

    AW always chooses his words well. At no time did he suggest that Cesc did not say anything hence the emphasis on leaving what is in the tunnel in the tunnel. he said cesc did not speak to the ref which moyes has inadvertently confirmed except he is trying to retain little respectability by saying it was to the 4th official who is part of the ref’s team as if that is news to any mere watcher of football?

    The truth is that it was not directed at the ref or likely any of his assistants. the assertion that he was screaming likely at no one in particular was a more likely scenario.

  203. can come out more stingly = has come out more strongly

  204. Did the missus remind you it was aclf ‘s 5th birthday Yogi!!

  205. “i have a question acfl`s,is john cross an arsenal fan?”

    Allegedly, but he is a scum-sucking hack first and foremost.

  206. YW – all apologies Yogi, Happy B’day!!! Wow! 5 years old, ah they grow up so fast don’t they? Big shout out to Darius aswell, I know I speak for everyone when I say you guys ROCK!!!! Well maybe not James or Howard or Whatever his name is.

    Team spirit – LOL 🙂 Could not resist a lil dig, think they deserved it. I like that word “stingly” Mind if I use it now and then?

    Els & Jabba – What’s with the flirting between you guys huh? This isnt Match.com you know!! Not that there is anything wrong with that! Just stick to the football lads, you can swap numbers later 🙂

  207. ZP – if you want a 2nd team it should be Leyton Orient. If the spuds move to the Olympic stadium you would still be able to hate them as neighbours.

  208. John Cross ?

    (courtesy of Frank)

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear

  209. OneOfUs,

    Sorry mate – yeah – arsene is a disloyal onion smelling french philanderer who makes Rooney look like a choir boy.

  210. Congratulations on ACLF’s 5th birthday. It’s amazing how you guys churn out one quality post after another. Lot’s of interesting discussions here…

  211. I’m glad that we have a decent back up goalie in Szczesny, but I must be the only Arsenal supporter who is a bit pissed off with him since he caused Fabianski’s injury and is now set to benefit from it. I really feel uncomfortable about that.

  212. From Youngguns

    The BBC are showing Cardiff’s game with Swansea live this weekend, so a good chance to look at Ramsey & JET for those who haven’t seen them.

    13:30 sunday

  213. I know it’s not about football per se but as we are playing Newcastle next what the hell!!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11140142

  214. What a star you are, Moopay.

  215. @ Irish, LOL… use all u want. no copyright! These typos

  216. Irish…

    I just saw you quoted the Princess Bride…

    That… is… so… so…

    Damn…

    Keep that up and you and I will have a bromance going on.

    Oh yeah, Arsenal!

  217. Tennessee Arsenal

    Happy 5th ACLF! I’m glad to have this blog; it helps me stay connected to the world of Arsenal football even though I’m in the far-flung provinces.

    Nice post, Darius. If you’ve read any of my comments, you know I appreciate the tip of the cap to Sagna.

    I love how Moyes, in the same breath, can say “We have no control over the ref’s decision” (when it comes to the disputed no offside) and then demand control over the ref’s decision regarding comments in the tunnel.

  218. Hi Tennessee Arsenal,

    Which part of the far flung provinces are you from ?

  219. Gadget – As you wish!!

  220. Muppet – I am going to guess he is from Tennessee.

  221. Comedian…. no..I meant .. like.. Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Smokey Mountains, Gatlingburg, Savannah… those sort of places.

  222. Once again the FA is trying to screw us. The Fa cup game against Orient is on the 20th ad the makeup game against Stoke is on the 22nd. Only a 2 day turnaround. Meanwhile United play City on the 12th, Crawley on the 19th, Marseille on the 23rd and Wigan on the 26th. How is this fair? Seriously this is the second time we’ve been given only 2 days to recover from a game.

  223. Muppet,

    I think we’ll ask the long distance information or Chuck Berry. One of the two will know.

    YW

  224. colneyblog – it is ESPN that caused that. Our game was on the saturday.

  225. Third time, colneyblog.

    Chelsea 27th Wigan 29th
    Huddersfield 30th Everton 1st
    Now Leyton Orient 20th Stoke 22nd.

    Stinks.

  226. dups,
    that’s ridiculous i thought only premier league fixtures were flex fixtures, didn’t know it applied to FA cup fixtures as well. It’s still shortsighted for espn to do something like that are they not aware they are only giving us 2 days to recover for our game in hand?

  227. YW,

    Ha ha… or Dolly Parton !

  228. I doubt if ESPN care about anything other than the viewing figures they get and the price of the rights.

  229. Fungunner,
    It smells like a conspiracy, someone somewhere clearly thinks we are becoming a threat to United.

  230. Phil Dowd has been assigned the Newcastle v. Arsenal game. I don’t know if i feel confident with him handling the game. Same referee who gave sunderland all the time in the world to equalise and he has penchant for awarding penalty kicks and dishing out soft yellows, re: Alex Song.

  231. Colneyblog, FunGunner,

    The whole thing stinks, it just reeks of corruption. Sky, Talk Shite, ESPN. It is all about getting bums on heat seats and identifying with those people who butter the bread. Or in the case, whipping up a hate frenzy over arsenal to keep all other football fans glued to the radio/tv/newspapers. The TalkShite campaign orchestrated in the wake of the Everton game was nothing more than a cynical, hypocritical, nasty, trumped up and deliberate anti-arsenal witch hunt designed to keep the supporters of the mancs, chavs, sp*ds and shitty glued to the radio. The commercial media are not interested in what is fair or what is sport. They are just interested in creating and fuelling the hyperbole that is over indulged english players, overrated english teams (sp*ds), and spinning as many non stories which play on xenophobic and other base prejudices. As englishmen/women we should be ashamed by the brutal hounding of fabregas when our beacons of morality are none other than Rio, Rooney, Gerrard and Cashley. Hypocrisy that takes your breath away.

  232. sorry – bums on hot seats !

  233. Hey guys check this video out, go to 7.43. Woijciech’s dad Maciej punches Roberto Mancini in the face in the 1991 cup winners cup quarter final.

    7.43

  234. “Darius, surely the market value is what people are prepared to pay? If enough people are willing to pay £2 for a loaf of bread then that’s the market value. If someone else is only willing to pay £1 then they will go hungry”
    by Block 4 @ 11:12 am

    No you dont go hungry you go to Edgware Rd and get some falafeels or Mr Khans and get a naan bread with some salad with some curry sauce as extra or you go to Sainsburys and buy a can of aduki beans and wholemeal pitta bread all for a pound and so much healthier and lord knows what you will get if you can hit the Aldi/Lidle sales. But if bread is the only food you know about then you gonna starve or fork out the two or three or a fifty million pounds and a point will come when you can only eat so much bread!

  235. Darius,
    I think Cesc should apologize to Moyes & Co not for insulting them but for taunting them. Why you ask? Certainly our fine captain knows full well that Everton can’t afford to pay off a recreational league ref let alone a PL ref.

    In all seriousness though I would love to see Lee Mason with his distinctly Everton statistical bias be assigned to a Everton/Man U match. The backlash would be something to behold would it not?

  236. Did anyone read the article about how WBA has gone to the , err what it called? National board of refs or something(the referee governingbody), because they feel so gravley the biased of the PL refs? He also said he has been critisised for not teaching his players to be “on the ref” enough or aggressive enough towards the ref to get the decisions their way. This suggests that more clubs than arsenal have problems with the referees in the league. WBA manager said he did not have the media power that Wenger and SF had so when he complaned about biased refs nobody listened.
    That ref board had also agreed with him, and was monitoring the situation the article said.
    Thats mad! Whats up with the PL refs:?:?

  237. “Number 10

    If I could be bothered I would.

    YW”
    hmmm? couldn’t be bothered but did?

  238. Congrats YW for five years of a labour of love. You, sir, have been outstanding. Credit to you that you have one of the finest community of passionate, thoughtful, erudite posters and sometime assistant bloggers.
    Three cheers to Yogi!
    Hip, Hip, Hooray!

  239. It’s only been 5 years? In 5 years ACLF has become an Arsenal institution. The pride of the Arsenal blogosphere

  240. I agree with Ole Gunner

  241. 5 years…..ACLF has been around for 5 years…..we have not won a trophy for 5 years…..just wanted to point that out…..it’s probably nothing but….yea 5 years man…..nada….zilch….zero…..nothin…..sweet FA…..yea it’s probably just a weird coincidence.

  242. To piggyback on Irish’s point, it’s been 5 years and we haven’t won anything, YW out Darius in.

  243. fantastic article, well worth a read:
    http://arsenal-mania.com/articles/3109888/El-Capitan—Fantastic-Captain-Fabregas.html

    Keep it up Yogi & Darius 🙂 without a doubt the best Arsenal blog around!!

  244. Colneyblog – LMFAO!!

  245. Szczesny, Clichy, Squillachi, Koscielny, Sagna, Wilshere, Diaby, Fabregas, Walcott, Bendtner, Chamakh.

    It also appears AW has been reading my posts Yogi, I mean you would think he would at least give me some recognition 🙂 check this out:
    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/wenger-financial-fair-play-rules-uncertain

  246. Tennessee Arsenal

    Muppet, Chattanooga.

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