Stone Cold Friday: Faint Heart’s Not Required

It’s Friday and I’m sloping off for the day. Instead, here’s Darius

I wondered how much time would elapse before the traditional piss-taking phone call would come in.  And sure enough, it took until yesterday afternoon with my smug and smiling friend Dean ready to enthusiastically spread his ‘positivity’.

“Dude, get the hell out of the bunker.  We’re at war here and you guys have a job to do against the Manure.  I have an early birthday present to cheer you up.  Get up – get up, we’ve got to stop these punks”.

You see, Dean is a diehard Liverpool supporter who can’t stand the thought of the red Mancunians winning another title.  He’s always been of the school of thought that the Champions League was a distraction for us and that there were bigger fish to fry.  We have a mutual enemy in that, but without prejudicing his right to take the piss, hence the early present.

Apparently, it’s a special edition limited release of a double epic DVD that he picked up while on his rounds on the wrong side of the Seven Sisters Road.

“It’s a collector’s item”, he insists, “with Spurs v AC Milan and a bonus disc with Barcelona v Arsenal”.

But as we pick up the debris from the crash out of Europe, it’s easy to forget that there’s still a massive job in front of us.  I suspect that like Dean, most Liverpool fans would be happy to let their team roll over at the Emirates in a tactical manoeuvre to outwit the old enemy.  Whether Dalglish and his charges think the same way is another matter altogether.

A lot has been said about the injustice at the Nou Camp, with Busaccas performance rivalling the Phil Daud show at St. James’ Park – something you would think was impossible to replicate.  My take is that even with the referee shafting us, we still had an opportunity to take the tie in the last minute, but such is the bitter sweet nature of the beast.

I would rather take the positives out, and in particular, a gallant display in defending.  It puts paid to the argument that if we needed to, we can’t defend, but as the narrative goes, many will have you believe otherwise.  Of course, we would rather play an attacking game, and that comes with its warts and all, but by God it’s entertaining.

The home straight is here and what bemuses me somewhat, is that there is still a lot of noise about the ability of this team.  The noise that comes from other camps about the smash and grab that smuggled the Carling cup out of Wembley forget to mention that the supporters of these teams were watching the game on TV.  If there teams were any good at it this season, they would have been at Wembley instead of us.

The noise about whether our defence is good enough and the flawed argument about needing a ‘world class keeper’ has been bitch-slapped by the consistency of a solid back 5.  I argued here the other week about the privilege of having the most experienced 2nd choice keeper in the league and the name Shay Given was thrown back at me.

Manuel Almunia has had more experience than Given in big name European games and that’s fact.  He showed it again on Tuesday and you have to admire his dignity and humility after all that has happened.  He was still ready to come in and do a stellar job for the cause.  Our 3 keepers this season, despite the regulation moments of madness have done us proud.  And in case you doubt it, look at the league table, the table doesn’t lie.

It’s easy to forget that Thomas Vermaelen, the best defender in the league last season is still on the Arsenal payroll.  I’m sure he’s even doubting whether he will be an automatic starter when he gets back.  Even with the individual mistakes at the back that you can’t legislate for, all our first choice defenders without exception, have given an excellent account of themselves.  If you doubt this – the league table doesn’t lie.

Despite everything that has happened in this campaign, we are in an excellent position to end up with a very successful season.  It would be naive and even criminal to actually think that it’s going to be easy.  There’s no such thing as an easy run-in.  There’s prizes to be won at the top and bottom of the table and all teams will be fighting for something.

The team is under no illusions about the fact that referees are not necessarily inclined to be impartial and this job has to be done the hard way.  Can we win 14 straight games?  Yes, it’s a possibility, but it probably won’t happen.  Even so, we are in control of our destiny and don’t have to necessarily depend on other teams to do us favours, as much as it will be welcome.

Picking up from this week’s defeat and the bitter way it happened is something both the team and supporters have to do and have to do very quickly.  This journey doesn’t take prisoners and it’s not for the faint-hearted.

My sense is that the reaction – especially from within the Arsenal ranks – when we suffer a defeat is amplified beyond belief.  There is a bigger danger that the overwhelming negativity and defeatist mentality will consume us and keep us firmly in the gutter with the red-herrings, as opposed to focussing on the rest of the job.

We’re  at the stage of the season where results are more important than vintage performances, and our regular display of Wengerball will be a bonus.  Make no mistake, our character, our belief, our patience and our sanity will be tested.

Now is not the time to pick perceived holes in our performances, or to consume ourselves with over analysing actual mistakes that we can live with.  It’s time to get out of the bunker and from behind the sofa and enjoy the 14 game roller-coaster.

Watch out for the warning signs for the faint-hearted before you board.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 11, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 248 Comments.

  1. Nice Darius.
    (shouldn’t it be hearts’re?)

  2. We’d see

  3. It’s bit like last season’s run in but with a more intact squad.

    We control our own destiny this time as well. I see no reason why we shouldn’t win the Premiership.

    Wenger knows very well what is needed. He can see all the banana skins.

    In truth, this is our best chance for some time. Ferguson must know that and I wonder what pressure that will put on him and his team.

  4. Consols.

    Ferguson knows it and his reaction to losing the last 2 games show it. It’s been a while since they lost 2 league games in a row, but it’s happening in the business end of the season at a time when they are said to be strongest.

    think their undoing is that their squad will struggle to cope on the three remaining fronts. Injuries are also piling up for them.

  5. Chas – a trigger happy Yogi perhaps?

  6. The FINAL table doesn’t lie. There’s still a little under 30% of the season left. Plenty of time for the refs, asst refs, FA and god knows who else to do their worst! I’m feeling more paranoid this season than ever before. Does it come with age or are we all feeling this way?

  7. Cheers Darius.

    We’re all feeling that way Billboy I expect. However, I’m confident that we can chuck it back in their faces and come away with at least the Premiership trophy this year. I’ve been introducing my hippy girlfriend into football, and it’s nice to get someone’s view who hasnt been influenced by years of anti-arsenal biase. She is now convinced that there is a conspiracy against Arsenal, and the last 10 matches and the refereeing and punitry have accentuated, and even confirmed that. I thought I was being paranoid, but I’m fully convinced now. Not sure what it will take for this targetting to be shifted to some other team..? Why can’t they punish the scumbags who haven’t even earnt their right to power like Chavs or Citeh?? Why does the most ethically and sensibly run club have to put up with it? Sickening, that’s what it is.

    We can overcome this bullshit to win though, starting tomorrow.

  8. With the prospect of a week off I’m sure we’ll be able to give everything in this one. I think the game’s also made for Ramsey’s return.

    For some sublime football check out the reserves highlights on ATVO. The move to set up the 2nd half Rhys Murphy chance was just beautiful.

  9. Darius nice post as always. I’ve been a subscriber to this blog for a long while because I’m a committed gooner. November Last year I opened my own Arsenal blog and I’ve had a considerable amount of readers. Over 1200 readers. My question is this. How do you make money off blogging about Arsenal. You can reply me through my email @ In your spare time pls check out my Arsenal blog at

    I even added you to my blogroll. Keep up the good work. I’m also impressed with Almunia. Despite being number 3 he performed admirably against Barca. I still hope that he finds a new club in the summer.

  10. The thing is about that Geo is that she is a hippy.

    Probably not best known for their establishment attitutes and analytical thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that she is a lovely girl.

    Ferguson’s team for Saturday should be very interesting – and revealing. He knows that too.

  11. As they say Geo, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. I would really like something to feel happy or positive about.

  12. Inflicting Manures third defeat in a row and on their home turf will have a profound psychological effect on the rest of the season. Especially as they still have to come to our hallowed turf.

  13. I heard some Chelskum fan saying if we were to win the prem it would be a disgrace. That we didn’t even have a shot on goal in the Nou Camp and how could we be the best team in the land? Erm read the table dick-head.

  14. Chas

    No apostrophe necessary at all…

    YW The Slack Jawed Grammacist

  15. Don’t try to make money off blogging about Arsenal. There are too many leeches as it is.

  16. Geo – is your girl from Totnes?

    My sense is that we will have the heat firmly under our arses until we make it impossible for them to ignore the reality. The view that there’s no conspiracy is no surprise as most people would like to think the best of others – but the blunt truth is Arsenal’s inevitable success (trophylistically speaking) represents the establishment’s worst nightmare. It is a living testament to the fact that the establishment has been living a falsehood and any suggestion that there is an alternative to live life another way leavs them exposed and hanging out the window with their hairy arses for all to see.

    Arsenal’s success will prove that we have all been fed bs about a culture and an identity of football that is so neolithic, it beggars belief. They are in self preservation mode and Arsenal is the manifestation of their worst nightmare.

    But pray tell, which revolution have you come across that is bloodless? There is a cost to what we’re doing, and it’s a cost we must live with – even though we will travel this journey kicking and screaming about that.

    The best the boys can do is knuckle down and be professional about the task ahead in the 14 remaining games. It’s dangerous to expect any favours, let alone that match officials will be impartial.

  17. What a massive generalisation consols! *I suppose that’s the Deb’m in you eh, too much cider to think openly?? Sure you’re a lovely bloke though… 😉 She’s very anti-establishment, but also very analytical. I’m very analytical too, but have been hugely influenced by years of this, and find myself looking for the injustice in every circumstance to do with our beloved club – which is the paranoia kicking in. But she’s come in with a more objective view and says it’s plain to see. Even my friends who thought I was talking shit about all this have finally come round, and are equally as shocked at how blatant it is becoming.

    *Only joking btw consols!

  18. Taunton actually Darius, Somerset lass, alas! They don’t play football in Totnes, hacky sack’s the closest you’ll get down them parts, maybe some diablo and juggling thrown in…

  19. Geo – don’t go knocking Deb’m cider – some of that stuff wouldn’t get past a bureau of standards…LOL! I’m sure Consols is adept at brewing his own – sitting by the chickens and slowly sipping the good stuff.

    I’ve personally kept away from cider since some college friends took me to some house in the bundux near Newton Abbot and get me to drink some locally brewed stuff. I kid you not, organic matter could dissolve in that concoction.

  20. Team for tomorrow?:





    Subs: Tea Lady (with gloves), Squillachi, Eboue, Denilson, Bendtner, Rosicky, Chamakh

  21. And now that you mention it – I don’t see football in Totnes….LOL! But at least they have Joss Stone.

  22. Will we have a reserve keeper tomorrow???

  23. That would be Dead Dog Scrumpy then Darius.

    So called, for the uninitiated, because they know when it’s ready when the dead dog, previously thrown in, has finally dissolved.

    S’ok Geo. I’ve always been very fond of hippy girls.

  24. Funny thing Darius, we’ll all sick to death of Joss Stone and her ‘stardom’ down here. She’s not actually a Totnes girl of course.

  25. I’d go with that lineup too GA, hope Aaron at least gets a run out…

    Darius – I’m actually a big fan of Deb’m cider, but doesn’t take long before I’m all over the place.. I’m a bit of a lightweight anyway to be honest! Drinking seriously messes with my body, and don’t indulge too often, apart from during festival season of course…

    consols – lol – Joss bloody Stone eh. Her mum’s opened a bar in Exeter that has some pretty good live music on to be fair. But only became popular because of the name, as it’s a shite venue. Where is she from anyway?

  26. Yup Consols – that shit was outlandish and took me way out of my comfort zone. I’ve stuck to lager ever since.

  27. Who is the ref for tomorrow? Is he on the staff at OT or does he just hate Arsenal? Either way we must keep our cool and stay uninjured. There will be coloured cards galore and off-the-ball incidents. The old thugs, Scholes and Giggs will try it on, as will the young thugs Vidic, Fletcher and Rooney. If we can stay uncarded and free of grievous hurt we will win. There’s no doubt about that.

  28. Lager, eugh…

    She grew up near Exeter I think Geo but born in Kent.

  29. Nicky – the ref is Chris Foy.

  30. LOL Consols – at least with lager, I was in relative control of my faculties. My wife has cultured me a bit more by introducing more wine into my ‘wet’ diet – but I’ve always been a lager man alternating with Canadian Club if I fancied a spirit.

    As for Joss, even the folks in Brixham are tired of her.

    @Geo – props to her mum – she’d be stupid not to cash in on her daughter’s stock.

  31. It will young James Shea on the bench tomorrow won’t it? His loan at Southampton was only for a couple of months from January. I was looking forward to young Damien Martinez getting a promotion but apparently he’s injured too! FML.

    Why can’t we kidnap Don Vito back off of Hull? Fucking liars… still fucking us up from a different league.

  32. Great post Darius. Still laughing at your views on The Sun. Looks like – in your opinion – that the The Sun isn’t just the gutter press but actually scrapes the gutter!

  33. Limpar – Yeah, probably. I think Mannone has been injured recently as well.

  34. In better loan news; Kyle Bartley helped Rangers keep another clean sheet in Europe against PSV last night. With him and Miquel coming through – Gary Cahill must be crying into his hobnailed boots. Hazzah!

  35. Is it true that Arsenal will be doing a lap of honour on saturday if we have a shot?

    Only joking! Before everyone has a heart attack

  36. Kenyan my friend – believe me, you wouldn’t want to be seen reading the Sun anywhere. Notwitstanding that it’s owned by the same dictator who owns Sly and Sly Sports – you’re most definitely scraping the barrel.

    Keep away from that shit.

  37. I think he had been injured since around Christmas time, gandy, a thigh injury. But he started and finished Hole City’s game last weekend if I’m not mistaken, keeping a cleansheet on his return to action.

  38. I’d rather see Ramsey make his return at the Grove as a late substitute where he will get the welcome he deserves.

    As for Saturday, I believe we will come out all guns blazing. I honestly couldn’t abide any other kind of performance. These are hungry professionals, and (wounded) pride is at stake. I demand a win and you can bet your arse that Wenger will have the troops rallied.

  39. I recall reading threads that have praised Arsenal’s defence on ACLF.
    A few wondering if the not playing Arshavin the other day was tactical, or based on fitness. We’ll never know.

    In the words of our consistent friends that translates into ‘Arsenal attempted to play like Stoke’. I’ve also read people not impressed with the tactics of Stoke and friends. That doesn’t include almost every other team that comes to play at TNHOF. There are not so subtle differences.

    Marvellous, isn’t it. Wasn’t it. What?

  40. Limpar – Ah, right you are.

  41. An outlandish bet, but what would the chance be that after Shea, Eboue’s primed to go in goal?

  42. It might surprise you guys to know that Keys and Grey have arsenal and Arsenes back on talksport. Im loving their new show cos its very balanced.

    All brits hate Joss stone cos she went to America and made it big. Yeah thats is literally why. To make matters worse she came back to england with an American twang. Heathen! She is better off where people like and appreciate her anyway.

  43. Kyle Bartley nearly scored again.

  44. @ Limpar 10.30am . . . Arsene on

    “We need now an experienced goalkeeper as cover for Almunia because Mannone is out for six weeks so we cannot call on him,” said Wenger.

    “Mannone is here at the training ground having treatment but he cannot play for the next six weeks. We can call him back [from Hull City] but he is not available.

    “We have Wojciech out, in my opinion for six weeks. We have Fabianski out for the rest of the season. We need absolutely some cover in goal.”

  45. Too…Ack! ….late… Kelvin… UGHH! …very… *crick* *lurch* sens…UGH!…sensitive…YOWACK-yeesh…. unmph – Around here! ARGh! *Sloomphcraaaash – kerslaappt* ———–

  46. Great blog as always, Darius – I particularly appreciate what you say about Almunia.

    @ Limpar Assist
    Mannone s now out for six weeks with an injury.

    Speaking of toxic home brewed cider and dead dogs etc, has anyone read reviews in magazines devoted to the subject of real ales?
    A friend showed me some a a few years ago and they are hilarious – “I woke up in a ditch two months laterwith a new set of tattoos and a pigeon under my armpit – this ale gets five stars!” Type of thing.

  47. Limpar – Djourou, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Squllaci, Miquel, Bartley – it’s hard to see a case for Cahill any time soon. Besides, the suggestion that he’s any better than the first choices we have is ludicrous. If he was that good, he wouldn’t be playing for Bolton.

    Speaking of which, we were pondering the other day – why is it that very few if any English players ply their trade in the European leagues. You can probably count them with the fingers on your hand – and to tell you the truth, I don’t know of any at the moment, and in recent times, I can only cite Beckham, Owen, Woodgate and Hargreaves.

    Is it that they’re not good enough or is the EPL being prostituted as the best league in the world being used as a cop out to keep them here and charge premiums on local transfer fees.

  48. If Ramsey does not play, then i hope Diaby does. Either, or, really.

    I also have a sneaky suspision that we could see Nasri on the left with Bendtner on the right. With RvP fit, it is the only way Bendtner will get a start. That said, I don’t fancy Bendtner tracking Evra so I could well be talking out of my behind.

  49. Blistering blue barnacles, JD Gooner. The tea lady it is then!

  50. Pennant as well Darius. He played in Spain last season

  51. @ Gadget
    “An outlandish bet, but what would the chance be that after Shea, Eboue’s primed to go in goal?”

    In a weird way, I’d love to see that. I wonder what he’d do to entertain himself while the ball was up the other end?

  52. Oh. In that case it is imperrative that we get cover for Almunia. We are an Almunia knock away from the season having a good chance of going down the toilet. You can “make do” with injuries in most position, but to be without our first choice 3 keepers is unreal!

  53. I’m putting money on Diaby banging in a great goal. He’s not forgotten his own goal last season.

  54. Eboue would be doing crazy stretches and dances Fun. It’d be a highlight reel of pure win.

    Plus, I have a feeling he’d invoke the spirit of Mad Jens and barrel through everyone to get the ball

  55. Mad Jens should be brought back for a cameo…

  56. I never understand how the season works in Brazil, but if he’s not busy let’s get Rogerio Ceni. We can bring him on if we need a last minute goal!

  57. I think the reason that English players dont go abroad is Arrogance. They think they are the best with all that grit. why go to pansy spain or france when its all about the english.

  58. Mind you, the Italians were kind of like the English for a while. In fact, I think at the time they won their last world cup (2006), every single member of that squad plied their trade in Serie A.

  59. “Wenger backs Under-16s starlet Josh Vickers to grab the 1st team reigns with both hands for the run-in and steer Arsenal to their first League title in seven years. Vickers turns fifteen in June. Spry old Frenchman Arsene Wenger told a hapless pool of dullard tabloid hacks that young Josh’s professional terms would be rushed through later this evening – and that a small pocket money allowance would be made available to fulfill the young lad’s Beano and Dandy subscriptions. A gently guffawing London Colney source told the drooling, gullible, pig-idiot press; “Josh is a voracious reader. His favourite character is Billy the Whizz.”

  60. In general it is the British culture which prevents our players from settling abroad. British people (in general) simply don’t embrace other cultures and simply expect everybody to speak English to them.

    That said, I don’t remember to many sories about bids from foreign clubs from British players. They are overpriced for one thing.

  61. goonerwife

    Name one English international, Jack Wilshere aside, who has the technical ability to play in La Liga or any of the top European leagues.

    No, I can’t either.


  62. andy, earlier in the season we saw VanPersie play almost in the Cesc role in the hole behind Chamakh, so that’s always an option.

    But I think we’ll go with Nasri or Rosicky in that role personally.

    Diaby tends to get the shout against United but I’d be happy with Denilson partnernig Jack as well.

  63. D10@ 9:42am.
    I remember the last we played them. How many shots of theirs were on target?
    Goodmorning everyone.

  64. RW – Ferdinand would have been able to play at a high level in Europe (footballing wise). But he is stupid, and why would he have left Manure? May I take this opportunity to state that I can’t stand him either. The weird looking plank.

  65. YW – Cole?

  66. I think there are a couple YW. Ashley Cole, as much as I dislike him, was raise the Arsenal way. I think the fact he played for us speaks for itself.

    I also think Rooney has (or had) great technique. Maybe not so much now, with his ego hyper inflated and all (what’s with his celebration?)

  67. Complete bollocks. ‘In general’ there are far more Brits living in Europe than vice versa. To say that Britain or at least England does not embrace other cultures is just nonsense.

  68. You want xenophobia you want to try living in some parts of France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy etc etc etc

  69. And give it a little bit of time, our very own Walcott too. He may not have amzing tech at the mo, but it is getting there.

  70. Frank – I do. I currently live in Germany, so I can speak 1st hand. So not quite bollocks.

  71. My seventh wife speaks French fluently, my eldest son speaks German and Swedish. You really do have to mind the racial stereotypes, goonerandy, old chap.

  72. If you live in Germany, goonerandy, then you ought to know better. Far from absolving you from speaking bollocks, it reinforces the…er.. bollockness of your attitude.

  73. James Shea may be on the bench. I think ramsey should not start. diaby, denilson and jack in the midfield or diaby jack rosicky. ramsey to come as a substitute.
    on a separate note when does theo return?

  74. I agree with Frank. There are many places in Europe that are far more opposed to foreigners coming to their lands, to live and work. There is a lot more racial abuse in, say, the Italian league than most other leagues. If that was happening in English football, there would be massive uproar. Balotelli getting racist chants from his own fans while playing for Italy did it for me. Spanish football has had it’s moments in the not too recent past too.

    I think the reason english players tend to stick around is because they are either not technical enough or have hugely inflated fees, and they believe that there is no better place to play their football – even if they were wanted.

  75. English players are very over rated ..well most of them are.. they can’t play in foreign leagues…how many of the english national squad members do you think can play in barca? ashley cole maybe….

  76. Frank – The majority (not all of course) of Brits I see around in Germany will quite happily walk into a shop/restaurant, and just begin speaking in English. I find it embarrassing to be honest. I am not stereotyping, just saying what I see.

    Of course there are plenty to do adapt and embrace the culture, but there are a fair amount that don’t and stay in the Brit community.

    I think a quote by one of the bigger named footballing exports sums up nicely the problem with Brits moving abroad. Ian Rush are moving to juventus; “I could not settle there, it was like living in a foreign country”.


  77. “they believe that there is no better place to play their football”.

    Perhaps this is the arrogance Goonerwife spoke of. I think this is the reason behind much of it, but the sentence is unfinished. I believe the full sentence goes something like: “they believe there is no better play to play their football if they want to get into the England squad”.

    I’ll have an essay completed by the end of the day exploring this thesis if anyone bugs me to do so

  78. SOME English players are very over-rated is probably what you mean, son

  79. Cheers, Gadget! That’s more to the point indeed. Bring on the essay I say!

  80. I have never understood the rationale of applying a premium to an English player. Considering that both David Villa and Andy Carroll cost their respective clubs £35 million in transfer fees, it would suggest that Carroll has at least similar stock and ability to Villa. Which is a load of bollocks.

    Take other examples – Lescott £22 million, Vermaelen £8 million. Lescott isn’t even the first choice defender at Man City, let alone England, and Vermaelen is a former Ajax and current Belgian captain and a much better player all round. How can they justify a differential of at least £16 million?

  81. Lots of Europeans already have a decent knowledge of the English language, so moving here is not as daunting. Your average British Footballer will have left school at 16, only at best will know how to ask where the local youth hostel is in another language. Or perhaps say how many bedrooms a house house.

  82. Fuck me, goonerandy, you base your opinions in some pretty fucking serious stereotyping don’t you? Ian Rush? I suggest you are mixing with the wrong type of German…and English people for that matter.

  83. And then Ian Rushes quote highlights yet another issue. Footballers are rarely defined as being classically intelligent. You have a few who are the exception, but many English footballer just don’t seem to be academics.

    This doesn’t mean footballers, English or otherwise are dumb, far from it. The ability to play professional football displays an intelligence I’m far from proficient in.

    I’m certain, were I to do the research into it, I could compile a graph showing a direct correlation between academic proficiency and willingness to explore and embrace an alien culture.

  84. I saw a picture yesterday, though I can’t remember on which blog I saw it. It was a picture of Cesc with his arm on LJW’s shoulder and from my interpretation of that picture, I think El Capitan has learnt his lesson.

  85. I’ve got friends currently embracing other cultures in Kenya, Paris and Brazil. There are lots of ex-pat regulars on here too. I’m sure they don’t all go around shouting “Chips! Garcon… you wanker.”

    Not current, but I always thought Merse could have played for pretty much anyone. If he wasn’t so fucking stupid. And maybe there’s the rub…

  86. Last time I checked Ian Rush wasn’t English. Maybe GA is talking about Ian Wright, no?

  87. Darius – All very true. I think that that sort of stupidity began which Ambamavich entered the fray. Clubs could ask stupid amounts of money and get it without worry. If my memory serves me right, one of the first transfers which really made me think “he is nowhere near worth that amount” was SWP. Or maybe even Wayne bridge.

  88. Actually having thought very highly of David Villa, I now rate him much lower. I would not be surprised if Andy Carroll does turn out to be the better player. If he keeps his nose clean he should become an exceptional talent.

  89. I don’t think that it is academic proficiency, I think that it is opportunity. Academic proficiency is just one means of increasing opportunity.

  90. Frank, judging from your opening post, I believe you may have taken some of what’s been said originally out of context. None here were advocating the English on the whole to be arrogant (although ther is certainly scope to make such an argument on certain issues), just the footballers.

  91. Darius – Never said he was English. I said British.

    Frank – The Rush comment was meant to be a bit of a joke mate (although it is true, the idiot). I have not mentioned any German attitudes, so what to you mean by mixing with the wrong type of German?

    Anyway, my comment was genralising, not stereotyping. I has thinking of the likes of Rooney (for example). I just cannot imagine him moving to Spain, learning the lingo, and embracing in Spanish culture. I may be wrong, but I just can’t see it. He is too thick.

  92. ‘British people (in general) simply don’t embrace other cultures and simply expect everybody to speak English to them’…is the phrase I was responding to, Gadget.

  93. Frank – I agree it was a genralised comment, but it is true to a degree. Can you imagine if a Dutch bloke wanked into a shop in a town in England and just started speaking Dutch. There is a good chance that whoever was serving them would not even know what language was been thrown at them, let alone repond to it.

    I have seen countless Brits abroad just expecting the local population to speak English, without even attempting to speak the local language. As you rightly said, not all are like that and plenty do embed themselves in local culture. But plenty don’t as well.

  94. @Darius 11:34 Use selective differentiation, that should do the trick.

  95. For the purposes of this conversation ‘generalising’ and ‘sterotyping’ might be considered to be synonymous. As for germans, you don’t appear to be living amongst those who might disabuse you of your reversed racism.

  96. Limpar – Merse has never recovered from being the first player Wenger showed the door. Do you really think he would have survived in the wilderness?

    On the issue of players, intelligence, and academic ability – I think it’s fair to say that there’s quite a few players who are left lacking in this department. They are decent practitioners on the pitch, but beyond that, they’re stuck with agents who don’t really have their welfare at heart. These agents just simply want to make money and very few look at the educational and developmental aspects of their clients careers.

    At the end of their careers, you get people who are accomplished footballistically, but beyond that, they couldn’t find their way out of a plastic bag, let alone the big bad world out there. If you take 35 to be a representative age of retirement, it still is a bloody long way for most before they can draw a pension. For most part, these guys are unleashed to the world unprepared.

    Let’s be honest, some are as thick as fence posts and it’s sad to see. A good proportion of them end up in the media – Robbie Savage anyone?

  97. Frank at 11:43, I’m not so sure. Footballers, by virtue of their illustrious and lucrative carreer path have opportunities beyond most.

    I do wonder of about those living abroad, what is the academic proficiency of those living in English communities?

  98. I don’t know what to do. My ‘friends’ want to watch the match together but they are not friends when it comes to football. They are mancs for 90 minutes and as such I won’t be in the same room as them.
    Think I’ll go for a walk instead.

  99. Frank @ 11:47, well I’ll be… shows you what a numpty I am!

  100. “Can you imagine if a Dutch bloke wanked into a shop in a town in England and just started speaking Dutch”

    Wouldn’t want to imagine that really GA! 😉 What type of shop was it?

  101. I’ll be in some place called Horndean on Saturday, if anyone lives down there would let me park in their drive and use their wireless so I can watch the match on my laptop I’ll get you on the guest list for the gig….

  102. **Dar is Darius…LOL ** Don’t know what happened there.

  103. Well it depends where you are, GoonerAndy. For example in the tourist hotspots of London it is not unusual to meet tourists of all nationalities who cannot hold a conversation in English. It is probably true in tourist spots all around the world. The key here though is that it is not important which language is being spoken, only that both parties are able to communicate enough for the transaction to take place. After all that is the origin of many pidgin, creole languages etc. Wherever you are it is not right to get pissed off with anyone for not being able to speak ‘your’ language. Anymore than it is not reasonable to be pissed off with someone for being deaf.

  104. Frank – Who said the Germans I live among are even aware of my thoughts on the British? It is hardly reverse racisim is it? I genralised that many Brits don’t embrace foreign culture whilst abroad, and I stand by that. It is hardly racisim.

    Anybody who has been on holiday to any of the Spanish Islands (for example) will have seen the mass population of Brit tourists getting absolutly smashhed, and then finding somewhere that does a good old English Fry up in the morning. Hardly embracing the Spanish culture is it?

  105. Why should they be living in ‘English communities’, Gadget?

  106. Frank – Yeah, I do agree with that.

  107. Do you not think that you are being a tad selective, GoonerAndy?

  108. Geo – Heh

  109. He had unusually subtle touch and passing ability for midfielders in England at the time I thought, Darius. And his vision was really, really extraordinary. His head never stopped swivelling from side to side, like a periscope watching a ping-pong match – taking mental snapshots of every player and every space so when he got the ball he had near 360 degree vision in his head of the field of play. Really cool to watch… I guess that’s one part of what we call ‘football intelligence’ or ‘FOOTBALL BRAIN!’

  110. The fact is that in the big leagues the vast majority of footballers play in their own national league. Those that move between countries are a very small minority.

  111. Goonerandy – I don’t think it’s just the British who flock into insular communities when abroad.

    Most Diasporas do that – they cook their own food, they speak their own language, they cluster in the same neighbourhoods, they share the same services and amenities. It’s a cultural default that provides a level of security and familiarity with what’s known.

    It is a big problem however for integration.

  112. I wish that Merse had moved abroad, it may have broadened his horizons a bit. Although moving to Italy did nothing for Paul Gasgoine’s addictions.

  113. Frank, I’d look at the English communties first and spiral out. My reasoning for this would be the idea I have that if you move abroad but straight into an English community, you’re not assimillating an entirely new culture but one which is the same as your last, just with tan. It seems as though there would be an unwillingness to go the distance and so, if my testable hypothesis is correct, I wouldn’t expect to find a great deal of ‘academics’ in such communities.

  114. Frank – It was just a comment in general, not a attack on the British race (of which I am one 🙂 ). I have seen a fair few Brits living abroad, to who struggle to adapt to the new cultures, and so stick together in the british community. Those that do not have a British community, are forced to adapt, and (from my experience) do so very well and embrace the local culture.

    What I would say about the footballer, who is a different kettle of fish to you or me living abroad I would think, is that the club they go to will do lost for the player. The player is not forced to adapt, as they can live in their own little bubble with helpers. As long as they can communicate in football terms they will get by.

  115. Darius – That is very true.

    Frank – “The fact is that in the big leagues the vast majority of footballers play in their own national league. Those that move between countries are a very small minority”

    This is also very true. There are howver lots of foreign players in English football though, but very few English in other countires (the original point I suppose). Do you think it simply comes down to finance? It could well be the case I suppose. It seems strange that our average tier players seldom get offers from abroad.

  116. Maybe the English are not good enough to play out of their own back yard plus they are way overrated!!!

  117. There are many English who have moved to Grece who, to my certain knowledge, have no intention of learning the language. I find that offensive.

    However, it is true that English is the most universal language and there is a better bet of being anywhere in the world and communicating in that language than any other. I include the Spanish and Chineses speaking worlds. Most technical studies are only widely available in English and most countries recognise the advantage in being versed to some degree in English. In Greece, for example, many children will go to evening classes in English even though they learn it at school.

    None of this excuses ignorance amongst many English abroad but we are unique amongst nations in finding our language so widely spoken.

  118. Christ, I totally forgot about Gasgoine! Moving to Italy didn’t do much good for Maradonna neither!

    Darius, that is a very salient point!

    Geo, I’m too lazy to write that essay!

  119. So where are the British enclaves in Paris, Berlin, Bonn, Milan, Rome, Vienna, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Ljubljana, Split? I know Brits who live in all of those cities and they live amongst the locals.

  120. Comparing transfer fees isn’t really a way of comparing ability since most of the time the fee is directly related to how long is left on the players contract as well as the club’s desire to sell. In the case of Vermaelen, he knew there was interest and ran down his contract before Arsenal made an offer. Likewise Chamakh. We can wait for talent to come to us unlike clubs with demanding new sugar-daddy owners.

  121. Darius, I remember telling you to differentiate, albeit, selectively. Now you integrate, well………!

  122. good to see your support of the 8th most expensive player of all time andy carrol frank, despite his goal scoring record and technical ability, carrol will always be the bigger man and like you say he could turn out to be a better player than david villa which would make his price tag seem a bargain.. sometimes the way you used to go on about villa made it seem like you didnt know which side your bread was buttered..

  123. Don’t know about those Frank, but I know where they are in Spain! Viva la school days! The memories of being a hormone fuelled adolescent…

  124. Frank – I am sure you. And like I said, I don’t mean all Brits. It was a general point about the British. Consolsbob’s example above highlights what I was getting at.

    I think that if moving abroad the best thing you can do is avoide the British enclaves. You have much more chance of adapting, and “making it work”. A footballer aboard (especially a top one), will have somebody to do lots of the menial stuff for him, so is less likley to fit into the culture I reckon. Not all of course 😉

  125. Arsène Wenger brought Glen Hoddle to Monaco at a time when his style of play was not appreciated in England. He had great success there.

  126. I’m sure it won’t come as a surpirse, but Nani is now out! What does this mean for United?

    I imagine they’ll come at us with the 4-5-1, so I imagine they’ll be lining up: Park – Scholes – Fletcher – Carrick – Giggs or some such permutation.

    Or would Fergie be a bit adventurous and go with a 4-3-3?

  127. Furthermore, didn’t one of the manc defenders pick up a red against the pool?

  128. who is this bobby gould asswipe on Grays and keys show?

  129. Gadget – Park is out as well. Which is good as he normally does well against us.

  130. Cbob, have you forgotten the colony years? The English colonised more nations than the others, and I am of the opinion that this as tilted the balance in their favour in terms of language exposure. What do u think?

  131. Park & Nani out eh? good news as both have caused us problems recently…

  132. Wowsers GA! Now that’s surely gotta put the Manc on the back foot from the get go. Obertan maybe? I seems to recall him being able to play of the wing.

  133. With one eye on Tuesady night I doubt United will start all of Scholes – Fletcher – Carrick – Giggs. More likely to see Gibson and Obertan coming in.

  134. Niles – What Bob said was true that English is widly spoken. But when in somebody else’s country I belive that you should at least attempt to speak their language. Even if you only can say “I am sorry, I don’t speak XXX, do you speak English?” it is better than just blaring English at them.

  135. Gooner wife, I demand you stop listening to talkshite!

    I don’t expect you to listen to me though. When it comes to women, my pimphand is weak, and I often wear the gimpsuit

  136. There was talk of Valencia returning for this match too, but that seems to have been rebuked. Not ready. So not the most attacking, flairy team selection available. Hope they dont just park the bus.

  137. Chris Waddle is an icon in Marseille which is the hardest club to play for in France.

  138. hahahaha Gadget!

  139. Yes, GA the importance of Park being out should not be underestimated. He’s a player who Ferguson always picked to play against us even when he wasn’t playing regularly. I think his absence will be profoundly felt by manure.

  140. Gagdet – I hope so, he is complete turd.

    I reckon they will go with:

    Van d Sar

    I feel dirty even typing that.

  141. Manure never beat us with flair. They always play 5 hard working midfielders, and hustle us out of the game. Park was important to this tactic as he never stops running.

  142. GA you dirty bastard! You put the whole team down when I could only manage 5!

  143. With a team like that Fergie could go 4-4-1-1. Still I feel this is a game made for Diaby moreso than Denny to start off with, but either or, I feel confident the men can secure the mid-field

  144. I think that David Villa was a fantastic player for Valencia, and at the time that was his club. I think also that he is much diminished in the Barca set up. I had never heard of Andy Carroll at that time, Kitchen Sink, and I am guessing that you hadn’t either. I think that Carroll and Suarez were fantastatic buys by Liverpool as replacements for Torres and it effectively cost them nothing.

    Having said all of that I would rather have Marouane Chamakh in our side than David Villa.

    All this proves is that AW knows more than me about football. But then we know that already.

  145. GA, I know. Courtesy and all that. But I have a -or not so-peculiar case here in Nigeria. Our national language is the english language; anytime I travel to some western cities (moi from the south), I find that many prefer their tribal language, and this is a problem for our national ‘integration’.

  146. Believe it or not there are many Brits who go to Spain and speak Spanish.

  147. Of course, seeing some of the preferred selections for us, Denilson could be Manure’s best player and they would have Diaby to score the goals for them (again).

  148. gadget, well i only listen to keys and grey. But i know what you mean. its mostly torture.

  149. PS. My daughter is in France to learn French and wants the locals to speak to her in French but they all want to try out their. English. How weird is that?

  150. Niles – Fair one.

    Frank – I do believe that.

  151. So everyone’s back to football, eh?

  152. haha thats good frank.. I also think villa is a worldclass striker although remarkably he looks mediocre next to messi..

  153. Not quite niles! I do love the debates on here, ranging from racism and attitudes to the colour of a player’s boots. Great stuff. I’d be amazed if there was such intelligent conversation going on at the chav or manc sites… More like ‘yeah, that Venger – he’s a cunt.’ and ‘Shawcross iz wicked aint he’

  154. @Andy that is the most dull, gray, workinghorse team ive ever seen from United. Its suits the grayness of their city tbh.(yes ive been to Manchester and its soo so so gray and dull, atlest on the outside).

    They will bore us to death, park the bus and hope for big al to do a mistake.
    Maybe they evern hope for a penalty shoot out. They will be like a living brick wall and it will be hard to score against them. Which means we really need RvP as Nic often needs a shoot or trhee before he scores and this is a game we may only get that one shoot.
    But without nani though… hes been awfully good for them this year… they will really miss him i think…

  155. giggs, fletcher, carrick scoles about as fun as the flue, throw joh o’tool(s that his name)? into the mix and its completly boring.

  156. Billboy – heh, I get that over here in Germany. Conversations quite often end up with me speaking (bad) German, and them speaking (broken) English. Tis strange.

  157. Yes, I’m sure it goes back to colonial days Niles.

    India has a multitude of peoples and as many ljguages and dialects. English is one of the main means of communication.

  158. Billboy, like Jonjon said the other day, I don’t think it is as wierd as a striker getting a red card for shooting a ball.

  159. Goonerandy, I once had a conversation in pidgin Frech with a german in Spain. About football of course, but I didn’t know any words for goal, offside, referee’s a twat etc. Still don’t, come to that.

  160. Niles, that wasn’t weird it was Diabolical, in the true sense of the word.

  161. Geo
    Like I always tell my barca brother and manc friend, both their teams have little or no presence online and, when they do have, the threads are boring. Welcome to the wonderful world of gooners, full of diversity and debate.

  162. Cbob,
    Language wise, I think the whole world benefited from colonialism, especially India and my Nigeria where you have unending dialects.

  163. Bloody tsunami has hit Japan. Pictures look bad!

  164. Looks real bad KG. Getting more and more frequent worldwide it seems.

  165. Niles – I havent really looked much on other sites, apart from when a Newsnow article links to one, doesn’t take long for me to navigate away though…

  166. At the risk of seeming selfish, is Ryo in Rotterdam at the moment?

  167. Holy shit:

    Never have I feared a tsunami before now. That wave just kept on moving, like Japan was sinking

  168. Certainly is Frank. I’m sure he’s adapting well there, probably all speak English 😉

    Interestingly, I went to google ‘feyenord’ the other day, and one of the top predicted searches is ‘Feyenord Miyachi’! Making a name for himself there…

  169. longblackcloud

    Afternoon all- Apparently we have all been under-estimating the English footballers intelect, a recent study has claimed played including Wayne Rooney & David Beckham excel at Maths and Geometry (but not linguistics tellingly)

    One of my best friends has just returned from 6 years living in Spain and the only Spanish she leaned was “Grande Beire” – more than enough for most of us to get by on I would think.

    Goonerwife – if you must listen to talkshite – Bobby Gould is a former Arsenal player (think he scored for us in 69 league cup final), FA cup winning manager with Wimbledon. His son is Jon the former Celtic and Scotland (98 WC squad) goalie and currently assistant coach of the Wellington Phoenix and former coach and player with my home town team in NZ (Hawkes Bay) and a former team-mate & friend of mine.

  170. Gadget – that is truly terrifying. I thought the photos looked bad.

  171. Tsunami?

    Billboy, UEFA doesn’t think so.

    Geo, do you navigate away because they aren’t arsenal related or because they are boring?

  172. Lol Niles, usually because they anger me so much with their old clihes about arsenal’s percieved weaknesses etc. I hear enough of that on MOTD and Sly. Don’t want to actually go looking for it! They ususally don’t say anything we didn’t already know, and the comments sections are hilariously oaf-ridden.

  173. Earthquake leading to Tsunami. Check that video – it’s savage.

  174. English refereeing gone downhill. They’re literally making up cards now. 😛

  175. Tuesday night has shown that arsenal can adapt based on what’s happening on the pitch in real-time, so if they want to stick with their stupid cliches I won’t bat. I have seen my team and its a great one.

  176. And dishing them out to those they dislike.

  177. Geo
    “I’ve been introducing my hippy girlfriend into football, and it’s nice to get someone’s view who hasnt been influenced by years of anti-arsenal biase. She is now convinced that there is a conspiracy against Arsenal, and the last 10 matches and the refereeing and punitry have accentuated, and even confirmed that. I thought I was being paranoid, but I’m fully convinced now”

    Sorry to go against the grain of the ongoing convos, but Geo, my brother, I’ve had basically the exact same experience with my girlfriend as well! Obviously being in America, pretty much everyone is insulated from the anti-Arsenal bias, but there are times where she is more frustrated than I am, as she has had a hard adjusting to life following the Arsenal.. Just as I did. It’s been really vindicating hearing her air the same grievances that I have in the past, as she is not one to agree with me just to play nice, quite the opposite in fact!

  178. Tremolo.

  179. NJ – “as she is not one to agree with me just to play nice, quite the opposite in fact!”

    Same here! When someone who has no real football knowledge and wants to learn, they tend to look at things going on on the pitch more keenly and sometimes even notice things that we football fanatics might not, as we are so engrossed in the minute details of the move, skills etc. She has been as flabbergasted as me (if not more – but that’s cos she fancies Nasri and RvP!) in the recent debarcles. My original point was that objective viewers are now beginning to share our view on the unbalanced refereeing, reporting and punditry, and even fans of other teams are seeing it for what it is. How much longer must it go on before something is done? Rhetorical question of course…

  180. afternoon y’all
    ah i see the brits v the rest of the world theme is rife today..why doesnt it suprise me..
    go get em frank..

    so whos this emergency loan keeper then??
    is Given injured still?? be nice if we got him in..

  181. Can’t see City letting us have Given.

  182. Geo,
    Nasri? Really? My girlfriend says he looks goofy. She’d much rather have Fabregas, given the chance. I always have the final laugh though. I’ve got signed boots from him 😀
    Similar situation to you and NJGooner. GF doesn’t have much of an interest in football, but is keen to learn. She was incensed by the decisions the other night.

  183. if hes injured we wont get him anyway..

    why a new keeper anyway??
    cant we just go with manny and recall one of the lads as backup..

  184. Because they are injured as well. If we don’t get cover, and Almunia picks up an injury we really would be in trouble.

  185. bloody hell..
    its only one position how the hell do we get so unlucky to have about 5 injuries for it..

    well whoever the new guy is he’ll have to be good and he’ll have to know the PL..
    looks like mannys number one though for a while..
    doesnt fill me with much confidence but what can you do??

  186. Darius: Nice post. Very well written as always and I alwasys look forward to Fridays. My favorite line was: “We’re at the stage of the season where results are more important than vintage performances, and our regular display of Wengerball will be a bonus.” AMEN. Lets get those last 2 trophies no matter what it takes. I would not even mind seeing us diving or using some of the “dark arts” if it would help. You really should copy your posts and paste them in the comments section at Le Grove and ANR. ACLF is the choir and the “Grovers” are the sinners who really need the pep talk.

    As Cbob said it will be very interesting to see what team Fergie runs out against us. Without Nani United will be totally devoid of any pace or technical quality in midfield. Unfortunately they still have lots of grit and they can still park the bus and as a team they have been scoring a lot at OT this year. Will not be an easy game no matter who Fergie runs out. Their defense has been suspect all year and as much of a shock as it is for me the say it, we have been a better defensive team since Christmas. As long as we can avoid any stupid back heels or other dumb mistakes our defending will carry the day for us. Arsenal has not scored more then 1 goal in any game in OT in over 20 years and I expect that will continue. We will win 1 – 0 if my crystal ball is correct. Hopefully Almunia can show the consistency that he lacked last year and play close to the way he did at the Nou Camp the rest of the year.

    The only point in the post that I disagree with is your characterization of TV as the best defender in the league last year. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and it is easy to forget how many mistakes he made at the back last year and some of the shambolic defending we saw. Based on what we have seen this year JD should clearly be the first one on the team sheet and TV and the KOS will have to fight it out for the more aggressive minded 1/2 of our CB parternship.

  187. utd are ripe and there for the taking
    fergie doesnt and hasnt had the talent at his disposal hes had in previous years at his disposal this season and hes gone back to basics
    80’s football…keep it tight at the back, fill the midfield with energy use the wings and lump it into the box..
    utd got a pasting at anfield cos without vidic they are shite at the back, they had no energy cos park anderson and fletcher didnt play and they had nani stretchered off for a grazed knee…so they lost the wings as well
    they got schooled..
    only vidic and fletcher will be back for us but they still have no wingers and fletcher cant stop jack by himself and vidic cant stop rvp so as long as we field our best side we’ll paste them too….

  188. Walton dishing out invisible cards for real fouls. We get real cards for invisible fouls.

  189. i thought gallas was our best defender last year
    i thought tv would have been our best defender this year
    jd and koz have been better than gallas was last year
    tvs got alot of work to do to get back into the side but at least we can say we will have three top cb’s next season

  190. Utd are there for taking. Just depends what Arsenal show up. Keep that waste big head shit Bendtner at home tho.

  191. JonJon – Whilst Manure are nowhere near the team they once was, they are still a better side than you are giving them credit for. They are above us after all in the lge, and it is not by luck. I think we will win, but it will be a tight game.

  192. Jon Jon:

    We clearly are “the better team” but we will not paste them no matter how much better we are. Their defending has been shite much of the year but I fully expect them to pick up their game and park the bus very effectively for us and hope to nick a goal or 2. Having Arsenal in town brings out their best. I think we will beat them but it will not come easy.

  193. look guys
    chelsea and liverpool have just pasted them
    so why cant we

    utd are a good side but ive just explained how they have been doing it..
    against chelsea and liverpool they didnt have the resources and against us they wont have the resources either

  194. no nani, no anderson, no park,
    thats been the catylist of their midfeild all year
    if our lads cant out work, out pace, out do, out pass, a midfield of scholes, gibson, giggs and fletcher then we are looking into the bottom of our pint glass with no more pennies for another beer..
    this weekend is a real chance to spank utd hard at OT…as long as we field our best and we go after them like chelsea and pool did then i dont see why not..
    im confident..

  195. JonJon – “look guys
    chelsea and liverpool have just pasted them
    so why cant we”

    Thats not really how things tend to work though is it?

  196. Jon Jon:

    What you say is true but I expect they will play a lot better this Saturday. They are a different team with Vidic and they have been a completely different team then the one that showed up at Anfield when they are at OT this year. I really hope what you say is right!!! It would be great fun to kick the stuffing out of them.

  197. Paper, rock, scissors…

    But who uses paper nowadays?

  198. if you lot are scared of utd after going out 4-3 to a cheating dirty bastard barca side then dont any of you turn up to OT tomorrow
    we wont need you
    sit at home and watch it from behind your sofas…

  199. On a very off point, I finally watched ‘This is England’. It didn’t resonate with me the way it did with my houseys, but I was horrified to find my psuedonym in use. Bastard.

  200. Fuckin ditto JonJon

  201. I can only assume your last comment was said firmly tongue in cheek Jon.

  202. whats your beef gadget??

  203. With the way this season has gone, throwing around “we should”, “we will”, “easy”, etc is a bit in excess.
    Let’s just watch the match, support the squad, and leave the hubris behind.

  204. No beef. I’m vegetarian.

    I would have thought you’re posting that comment on the wrong blog. I know many on here to be fearless in their support and belief in the capabilities of the squad and team, why even moreso than yourself: your lack of faith in the Manny is… disturbing. From the should-ers to the capable-ers, we all believe. Ain’t no fear here, Jon; ain’t no fear here.

  205. ahhh gadget your one of those bloggers who judges the book by its cover aint ya??
    just cos i dont think manny has the minerals to be arsenals number one ( which judging by the fact AW relegated him to third choice, AW must feel the same way) doesnt mean i dont think the TEAM cant go out and do utd over good style??

    theres no point discussing anything with ppl like you cos theres no grey area is there??? its either one extreme or the other…

  206. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    I love the way you infered that from one little comment which actually sid you merely have less belief than most on here. In fact, you already suggested your confidence has dropped since Manny’s now starting, so I’m merely reenforcing your own point!

    And yes you’re right there is no point discussing anything with me.


    Ta ra JonJon.


  207. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    I like our chances vs United. I think were gonna be well fired up for this one. We’ll be out to prove a point, and we are just the better team period. You never know with these refs nowadays though.

  208. ???????
    ok..that made sense..well done..u got me…

  209. Oh, by the way, in case it wasn’t like abundantly clear, you know with the lame humour and Star wars reference, my comment was not written to offend, but somehow it managed to do so anyway. That I find fricking hilarious. In fact I actually agree with JonJon’s original sentiments, it’s just I mere felt such words would be bettter served on Arsenal Truth of Le Grove!

    C’est la vie!

  210. it was clear gadget well done your the best im the worst…
    whatever you say…
    you let slip your lack confidence for tomorrow with your on paper thingy and then you question my support??
    then make a daft comment
    then think its funny
    then still continue to sniff your own fart??
    bye again, been a pleasure….

  211. Al
    Bac DJ Kos Gael
    Deni Jack
    Samir AA/TR7

    Sub : Diaby, SS, EE, NB , Ramsey, Keeper

  212. Rather –

  213. Late to the conversation on language, but agree with much of what Cbob says, except I suspect that many of those whose first language is not English want to learn it nowadays because it is the language spoken in the USA (well sort of!).
    And if, say, 20 Europeans countries want to speak some English as a second language, that is an advantage on someone from England who would have to learn 20 different European langauges to be in the same position – right?
    In my cu-de-sac, there is only one other ‘white ‘caucasian’ family and we all get on very well (‘cos we can’t understand each other :-)) but it can be unnerving when the Chinese people come and look through our living room window.
    I have been to lots of meetings where translation is necessary and the interpreters find speakers from Britain and Norway the most difficult because of the number of dialects spoken.
    Weren’t we all supposed to learn Esperanto at one point? Actually there was a play going around here spoken entirely in Klingon!

  214. Geo

    seems our experiences are one in the same!! This current lady friend is the second one I’ve converted not just into a football fan, but into a respectable ameri-gooner. And my gf loves RvP too and wants to keep JW as a teddy-bear. Can’t say that my sentiments on JW are that different though….

  215. i think all language should move away from this elaborate, emotion tugging text and move in the grunt direction. think about it. if some guy is pissin you off, give him a few angry grunts and if he keeps doin it then just bash him in the head. it really simplifies the whole matter and i wouldn’t have to spend so much effort into telling other people why they are wrong. yep.

  216. William – you are not really into this evolution thing, are you?

  217. I suspect Evra won’t come out with his “Arsenal are babies” claim this time around.

  218. If we win the league, Almunia, Fabianski and Szczesny all stand to get medals because they would have played 10 games or more 😀

  219. Ateeb
    Evra belongs in a nuthouse, i don’t think he has it all up there.

  220. Though I know SAF is a sly fox, but no matter how cunning you are, you can’t make gold from silver.

  221. i know everybody is moaning about Arsenal needing a new defender and bla bla bla. However so far young Bartely is making a rather good figure up in Scotland. Being involved in big games and really showing his promise.
    Having him as a no 3 for next year is no worse than having Smalling as no 3.
    He is already more experienced than Cahill in playing in international tournament(played euro cup yesterday) and he has been through some nasty games in old firm clashes.
    Me thinks hes ready for the arsenal 1st team next year and that we should not buy any new defenders. We always have squilly and maybe even Verminator is back.

  222. Maybe missing out on Smalling was not so bad after all seeing the emergence of Bartely. Also Kos is very classy…

  223. Goddammit I’m know I’m sad, but I can’t let it go! And I will regret this in the morning…

    JonJon, aye carumba, you completely missed my point with the rock paper scissors thing in a way which I don’t really know how. It’s quite bemusing and hilarious to me! Perverse and mischievous sense of humour I have.

    To explain (because I obviously must): the paper rock scissor thing was in support of GA’s observation

    “”JonJon – “look guys
    chelsea and liverpool have just pasted them
    so why cant we”

    That’s not really how things tend to work though is it?”

    Merely admitting that thing aren’t as simple as team A losing to B & C = a win for us, I can’t see how that betrays a lack of confidence. Please, explain to the contrary and enlighten me.

    As it stands, to reach a conclusion as you did seems to me to be a bit of a huge stretch, and you’d be quite wrong given the nature of all my previous posts. That’s like me reading your posts and declaring you a spud (ooh, back-handed placation). I’d never do that because I know that not to be the case, but I will question you on other shit, especially the stupid shit you’re capable and willing to spout (such as the comment which you thought gave me twisted thong – which admittedly it did, just a little bit – it hurts the scrotum which are massive cause I obviously don’t get laid enough).

    And you know what, if you’d argued your case, and argued why such a comment actually has a place on this fine blog (ugh, sycophancy) where the belief in the squad is so evident that we have ‘realistic supporters’ coming on here and calling us all delusional, I would have much more respect for you than current. Yes, I will admit to being quite the cheeky one in stating your belief in the squad could be stronger, but it’s the truth, and we’ve all been part of arguments about the quality of all our players, and I know for a fact, because you’ve stated so many times, there are some of our players whom you have little faith in.

    However, instead of brushing it off as a little but truthful quip from a overzealous fool, you went and insulted my intellect! And Lord knows, my ego doesn’t respond well to such. Hell you could have called me an overzealous fool, and I’d have probably taken it as another pseudonym

    Also, just so you know my shit smells like a summer’s breeze and I really am the best. That’s the power of being a vegetarian – were I a vegan though, phew, my farts would be nuclear and toilets would be destroyed.

    And that’s why grunting and punching went the way of the dodo, cause I kill muthafudgers!

  224. if you can find it in your heart say a prayer for Japan. 🙂 and for Ryo and his family!

  225. Alright, so regret is kicking in already.

    It was inaccurate of me to say “your belief could be stronger”. It would be far more accurate and less contentious to say “your belief is not the strongest”. Although some may say it’s mere semantics, there is actually a great difference between the two.

    Anyway, off to rave it up and act as scandalous as a 2-penny manwhore! Thoughts to Nippon and to an overwhelming victory!

  226. poodle
    cahill was part of the bolton side that played in the uefa cup season before last..hes also got experience at international level with england
    but yeah kyles looking pretty good up there..although gers are using him as a midfielder..
    i think hes a good prospect, he was once touted as the next big sol by a few of the youth coaches not so long back so fingers crossed

  227. Jon Jon:

    If Kyle is being used as a midfielder in Scotland then why would he come back and play CB for us? Sounds a lot like Harvard Nordtviet.

  228. i dunno why they using him there bill, maybe smiths a fan of a powerful dm and kyle fits the bill, seeing as though he can defend they using him as an anchor man… to protect david weir whos 40 and cant run…
    have to ask walter smith but they are starting to love him up there he scored the winner v st mirren the other week, or was it motherwell?? he scored the winner anyway..they’ll look to keep him i think..

  229. Kyle plays as a CB in 5CB formation for the Gers

  230. Hope he turns out to be a good player but I would assume they would play him in his best position. If he is not good enough to displace one of their existing CB it does not bode well for him to be the next Sol Campbell or someone who can contend for a first team slot. We went through this last year with Havard when he played DM on loan for a German side rather then playing CB

  231. either way he is getting valuable experience, and being versatile could only help his case. Wenger likes versatile players.

  232. hasnt last few times ive watched em colney
    plays central midfielder in a 5 man midfield…

  233. it dont matter where he plays we need our cb’s to be comfy on the ball…playing in midfeild will only help his case..

  234. evenimg all

  235. or kyle vs celtic when he scored

  236. BarryGunnerburger

    The only positive to take out of Spurs recent success is that come 2012 Harry Redknapp will be the new England manager and Spurs will be swept away down shit creek without a paddle. Hopefully they will go foreign again and looking back at their previous stabs at this… Christian Gross and Juande Ramos… they always fuck up!!!

  237. I wouldn’t mind Bartley coming back with Ranger’s teammate Maurice Edu. One of the best players in the U.S. team and one of the hottest defensive midfield prospects in world football.

  238. Bartley has been playing some midfield for the Rangers because their regular has been injured and he is better and more skilled than their backup.

  239. 1 loose cannon

    BarryGunnerburger. What is Spurs recent success? Going through in the C.league for the 1st time in their history is not a success it only shows their failures over so many years. The Spuds have spent lots of money and been in C.league once is a failure. It is expected of them every year with the money they’ve spent.

    Net Spending on transfer fees (£)
    Team 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 Total
    Man City 39.1 117.9 99 126.5 382.5
    Chelsea 7.5 – 10.8 17.5 87.5 101.7
    Tottenham 33.9 19.4 -0.5 17.5 70.3
    Liverpool 39.8 6.35 -8.7 -5.1 32.35
    Man Utd 36.7 33.7 -64.5 13.5 19.4
    Arsenal -13.4 0.05 -31 6.8 -37.55

  240. Today’s game could go either way… the ref will be in the spotlight so hopefully he won’t lean either way and just be fair! Ferguson’s recent activity (jedi mind tricks) are usually productive in influencing the referees but Lord Wenger has raised the bar by taking on the dark star itself (UEFA). The difference is Wenger not only thinks about his own team but football in general. Yeh sure, it would have been great to have won the tin pot cup and still be in the Barcelona Cup but there is more to football than winning! All these jokers having intense debates on the perceived shiteness of Denilson, Diaby and Almunia don’t really make me laugh. They are all quality players otherwise they wouldn’t be at Arsenal. The only trophy worth pissing in is the Premiership because the Champions really are the best team. Maybe we will win it, maybe we won’t… but Wenger’s lasting legacy will be how he shined the light on the distortional influence that the business men who run the game possess. He knows corruption when he sniffs it (Bernard Tapie and Marseille). It’s all about values and if you don’t understand that then you might as well jump on Twitchy’s lilywhite boat! Victory Through Harmony

  241. You said it I am Gooner – I’m glad to know there are more of us out there. The club is well aware of what is going on with the referees and they are not going down quietly. All we’re asking for is an opportunity to compete on a level playing field. After all, that is what sport is supposed to be about. Let team tactics or individual skill be the difference, not blind, incompetent or downright corrupt officiating.

  242. where do we go from av been taking abuses from chavs,manure and scum fans..why do we always imlpode like this? and why do we always make every opposing keepers look world class? answer.. we play straight,direct shot at them!

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