A Thin Line Between Genius And Madness

Arsenal’s season has descended into farce or Arsène has pulled off a transfer masterstroke in signing a 41 year-old goalkeeper who has not played for a year, depending on whom you believe.

Let’s make things clear before we start, Jens Lehmann was a good servant for the club in his previous spell at Arsenal. He is without doubt one of the top five goalkeepers who have donned the Arsenal jersey.

Yet this is a huge risk, even for a six week spell whilst Szczesny recovers. Arsène would argue that his options were limited. Mannone is also injured, so is Fabianski which left the hugely inexperienced James Shea as reserve. With the way in which this season has unfolded, having experienced cover is important. Arsène presumably felt that this outweighed the issue of match fitness.

It is inconceivable that Lehmann’s fitness is not up to the required level but as with Sol Campbell, the danger exists of an over-romantic memory, the heart ruling the head. Campbell’s elevation to Arsenal’s best centre back during Vermaelen’s absence last season says more about the performances of those alongside him than anything else. He did well but.

I hope Lehmann is not required. It means Almunia is playing well and uninjured. It means that the memory of The Invincibles goalkeeper is not sullied. If he is needed, there is no doubt he will try his hardest to ensure that Arsenal win. We have to hope that his best in good enough in those circumstances.

Lehmann will no doubt be a strong character, something desperately needed so we are told be everyone outside of the dressing room. Most of the staff know him; those that don’t will sure to be ‘genning up’. At the time he left, the trophy cabinet was brimming to the point of bursting open.

The whole ‘strong’ character is being overplayed. Having a new face in the dressing room will change the dynamic for a while and might contribute towards rebuilding confidence if needed but anything more than that is wishful thinking.

One reasonably unknown character for Lehmann will be Jack Wilshere or the young player being rapidly elevated to Football God status. Much hope is being foisted onto this young man, more playing time than he might have expected this season and in the absence of his captain, a great deal of expectation.

Wilshere seems to be thriving and that is great news for Arsenal. The hope must be that he is not being run into the ground by this season, that the exertions will not lead to wear and tear injuries. Arsène is experienced in bringing youngsters through and the hope is that he has not lost the knack of doing so successfully.

If he wants a warning of what can happen if he gets it wrong or, including internationals, the player is involved in too much football, he need only look at his captain.

Wenger is not going to get any assistance from England or the media. The latter is desperate for good news from the England football team. The rugby and cricket equivalents have given them good times and bad in the last decade. It has been nearly twenty years since what is rapidly turning out to be English football’s Golden Age.

Wenger, it seems, is not the only manager tottering on that maniac / genius line, Fabio Capello is quite close to it as well. If he thought Real Madrid was insane, he has found that international management is definitely a case of the lunatics taking over the asylum. And he contributes to that state of affairs. Wilfully.

For example, his latest opinion on Jack Wilshere.

He will one day captain England. Undoubtedly. He reminds me in many ways of Bryan Robson. He is the best young midfield player I have ever seen at his age.

Robson is held up as the archetypal English midfielder, the one with a great engine who covered every blade of grass, tackled robustly. Except in Robson’s case he spent as much time on the treatment table as the pitch. Hopefully Wilshere will not follow suit.

Capello clarified why he thinks of Wilshere as a potential captain,

His Champions League performances against Barcelona show he is a real leader on the pitch. To play with the confidence and attitude he showed against a Barcelona side that is the finest in the world was incredible.

Which is fine, a tribute to the young man. And at the same time, feeding a media frenzy. Well, it is not yet but by the time the next international tournament comes around, it will be and a maelstrom will be cast around Wilshere.

Problematically for the FA, the international tournament comes within months of the Olympics. As the country that will provide the Under-21 players for that tournament, England has a careful balance to strike.

Firstly, the national team will suffer if anyone – not just Wilshere – plays in Uefa2012 and the Olympics before rushing into the Premier League season. When Theo Walcott was used twice in one Summer, he did not make it to the start of the season before breaking down.

The FA owes the players a duty of care. They have to put this first and decree that anyone who goes to Poland / Ukraine, does not play at the Olympics. The British Olympic Association might want to investigate the feasibility but there has to be a line drawn and little doubt if the decision is left to Arsenal, the answer will be a polite but firm, “No”.

And that is the way it has to be. I feel sorry for the BOA, the decision of the Irish, Welsh and Scots to withdraw support over petty reasons does not help their cause. That Capello is using younger players does not help their cause. That Olympic Football is viewed sceptically in the UK does not help their cause. That Fifa and Uefa are not the organisers of the tournament does not help their cause – rules enforcing international call-ups do not apply here.

But that is their problem. Players have to be used sensibly and this is the biggest barrier to Jack Wilshere participating at the Olympics. It ought to be insurmountable. But this is football and sanity is frequently in short supply.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 15, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 206 Comments.

  1. Morning YW…Intersting blog as per norm

  2. I hope The FA to be reasonable and not make mistakes of Theo again on Wilshere. But my gut feeling says they will just do the same. They will let young Jack carry the whole National Team on his back.

    And Jens?

  3. According to the Swiss Fa JD will be fit to play again this month. Who do we believe????

  4. I hope Lehmann’s presence in the dressing room inspires the rest of the players to concentrate for 90 minutes in every game. I know I wouldn’t want to be at the end of his mad stare.

    Hopefully the good news about Djorou coming out of the Swiss FA isn’t just wishful thinking on their part

  5. Morning troops.

    JD – can’t see it being a fortnight. The Swiss FA has a vested interest with the Euro2012 qualifiers coming up and the concern must be that they will play an unfit Djourou. They don’t give a rat’s arse about his club, qualifying for the finals is their only agenda.

    Mongolian – That’s a huge worry with the FA. They repeat the same mistakes over and over. Hopefully they won’t with Wilshere but that is said more in hope than expectation.

    YW

  6. The possibilty of an early return by JD is welcoming news should it be correct on the BBC Sport website..

  7. Today Mongolian National Team faced Philippine National Team in Ulaanbaatar. Asian Challenge Cup Qualification round second leg. We won 2-1, but as a result of first leg, we lost 3-2 aggregate.

    To cheer for your national team felt like something different. Totally another level. Many of you had the opportunity to cheer Arsenal at The Arsenal stadium. Many of you had the opportunity to cheer for your local team in your local league match. I never had that opportunity and today had one. I can definitely tell you it felt good. Those pre-match anticipation, adrenalin rush, goal celebration, crowd, jeering on opposition players. All the actions live. No replay. Chanting the names of players. It all felt good.

    And we had only 3000 or so supporters on our ground. To imagine if we were in the Arsenal Stadium. Sixty thousand Gooner crowd. It blows my mind. How lucky you are?

  8. Good news about Djourou if he does make it back, he’s been in great form and will be invaluable in the run-in.

    Wilshere is already becoming a key figure for England, I can see him starting against Wales especially now Gerrard has been ruled out. I’m hoping he gets to the end of this season without injury before worrying about the next, can’t he get one of these mysterious two week injuries straight after the West Brom game that so many other players get?

    Mad Jens eh? It will be interesting!

  9. Borges Spinelli

    I’ve never understood why Britain/UK or whatever name it decides to be on the day, doesn’t have a national team. Especially when the fact is that England, Wales, Scotland & Northen Ireland aren’t separate nations, but regions (with their own distinct ethnic groups/tribes) within one small country. Britain as a combined nation team has greater chances of winning trophies than a solitary region/state England does. Don’t y’all agree?

  10. “Campbell’s elevation to Arsenal’s best centre back during Vermaelen’s absence last season says more about the performances of those alongside him than anything else. He did well but.” Let me finish that for you…He did well but we lost 5 , won 6 and drew 4 of the 15 games he featured in. Popular decisions don’t always yield the results needed.

  11. Borges – The issue is one that has been brought up many times. However, you only have to look at the Irish, Scottish and Welsh reaction to there being a British football team for the Olympics to see why it wont ever happen. These races are all very insular and patriotic and see England as an enemy rather than a brother.

    It is a shame that they couldn’t set this aside for the Olympics as a true British football team would have been something to behold. My personal opinions are that they are worried that most of the players would be from England anyway.

  12. Borges

    Light the blue touch paper and stand well back….it’s a bit like telling Canadians, Mexicans, Brazilians that they are all part of the USA…

    YW

  13. Borges Spinelli

    The English FA & media are building young Wilshere up, only to castigate further down the line. Beckham’s reign is over (except to him) and thus the nation needs a new champion to herald. I do hope the pressure to deliver doesn’t break him. It isn’t like this in Brazil, placing HUGE burdens on young shoulders, where soccer talent is over abundant) Wilshere appears to have a fantastic attitude for a man his age. And wish him well throughout the course of his bright career.

  14. Borges, it’s essentially down to politics. If we did have one national team then pressure would come from UEFA and FIFA to have one national league instead of the Scottish, Welsh and Irish leagues and also there would only be one place on the governing bodies’ various decision-making committees instead of the current four. No-one is going to want to give up that particular gravy train.

  15. I bet it was very hard to keep him under the radar all these years. I say well done Le Professor.

    I hope JW is smart enough to listen Manager’s advice. Unlike Theo, who didn’t listen and let them burn him out.

  16. Great post Yogi. I often feel that Wilshere plays too much football for a player his age, particularly at club level. Interestingly Clarence Seedorf played just as much football at such as young an age as Wilshere and is still active though in his mid thirties. I think Ferguson was more sparing of Giggs, though I’m not too sure. But maybe with modern technology it’s easier to monitor a player’s injuries and general health. As for the hype behind Wilshere that’s a natural British thing, especially in your tabloids. But all from several gooners who visit this blog. We’ll just have to live with it and hope that Wilshere grows up very fast.
    Couldn’t get a link to the Norwich City game but the pictures show that Lansbury scored a spectacular goal. Had he been Rooney it would probably be the goal of the season mark two!

  17. I think this interview is where the Daily Mail are getting their ‘Swiss FA’ story.
    http://www.20min.ch/sport/fussball/story/Djourou–Reicht-es-fuer-Bulgarien–22093552

    I seem to remember Ricardo Fuller *washes mouth out* coming back very quickly from a dislocated shoulder. I suppose the damage can vary massively as with all these things, but JD seems to be in good spirits. He’ll have to play his virtuosic piano one-handed for a bit now though.

  18. I love this. What I call classic Yogi: “Robson is held up as the archetypal English midfielder, the one with a great engine who covered every blade of grass, tackled robustly. Except in Robson’s case he spent as much time on the treatment table as the pitch. Hopefully Wilshere will not follow suit.”

  19. The Swiss FA says that after extensive test on Monday there is no bone damage and the the ligament have been streched as a result of the dislocation but it seems the ligaments were not torn. I’m no expert in dislocation and ligament damage but if there is no bone damage and no ligament torn their assessment might not be just wishful thinking, Some anti inflamatory, a lot of ice and some rest and he could be back sooner rather than later.

    As for Jens, if the reports are true, I think it is a gamble but one worth taking. For such a small stint someone who does not know Arsenal’ set-up might take too long to adapt while Jens knows everyone at the club. I like you, would prefer that Jens don’t need to put the gloves on as it would means Almunia is doing fine but having him in training, in the dressing room and on the bench could be beneficial for moral lifting and fighting spirit. In addition if a player tries to rough up one of our player he better not do it next to the touchline or Mad Jens could make him burst into flames just by staring at him with his crazy gaze.

    To be honest, I could not care less about olympic football. WC and Euro already bores me so the Olympic tournament? The Olympics are a great events to give some low profile sports some great visibility so why take some of this attention away from guys who are top of their sports but are unknown by the general population. I believe high profile sports should not even be in the olymics. If the IOC want football at the olympic it should be ladies football, futsal, beach soccer or under 16 in order to give the less mediatic part of the game enjoy some great visibility.

  20. A friend of mine dislocated his shoulder a couple of years ago and it still pops out in his sleep from time to time. Once the ligaments have been stretched out of shape that’s it apparently – you do lot’s of work on the muscles and tendons to make up for it, but you do get quite frequent relapses I think because the ligaments are sort of irreversibly baggy around the edges… in Lehmann’s terms… sorry, layman’s terms.

    Could be talking absolute horseshit of course and his ligaments might be cushty. The Swiss seem to think so.

  21. Oh, the Swiss don’t seem to think so… Anyway, I should add that despite a few relapses this fellow plays quite a high standard of rugby every week. Though it has taken him a long time to get it strong enough to do that. Ipswich and Blackburn aside though, Johan won’t have to contend with too many spear challenges.

  22. Limpar, can your friend pop it out like Riggs in lethal weapon?

  23. Firstly England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland are countries not races or regions. Secondly the political direction is one of separation NOT unity. Devolution is well under way.

  24. Kenyan

    Ryan Giggs always has mysterious injuries around the time of internationals. Not sure how many caps he ended up with but he probably missed as many games.

    YW

  25. Borges Spinelli

    Erm, YW, Canada and the US are two distinct independent nations and members of the UN. With separate currencies, economies, military institutons, constitutions, national flags and spheres of gov’t. Yes, we are United States’ largest trading partner, for obvious reasons too. Mexico also is very different from the US or Canada. And as for Brazil, we inhabit an entirely separate continent to the Americans.

    But I can understand the sensitive nature of having a Britain team for political reasons. Teaching kids from an early age that they belong to one country, might help.

  26. Yes, LA, that was Bryan Robson’s chronic problem.

  27. They don’t belong to one country, Borges

  28. Scotland, Wales and Ireland were separate countries from England and each other centuries before the US and Canada existed.

  29. Sounds kinda like Asia two centuries ago, where Qing dynasty ruled over Mongolia, China, Tibet and many others. Mongolians will never be in one team with Chinese. And Tibetans too, wont team with Chinese.

  30. You don’t get it but do you? England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are all COUNTRIES on their own right.

  31. I have heard that Johan Djourou plays with a kenetic, frenetic, physical and emotional improvisational style – not dissimilar to Keith Jarrett.

  32. Common currency? Flag? Might as well have a team called Europe

  33. Borges

    As with Canadians, etc., the Irish, Welsh and Scots are distinct independent nations. Being a member of the UN means nothing at all. Some of the most reprehensible nations on this Earth have been members. Separate economies, laws, national flags, spheres of government. Yep, they all tick those boxes.

    Separate continent? Well, you all occupy the same landmass. As for the rest of the UK, a number of people from each nation would probably wish that the others occupied another continent.

    There are no political reasons for a non-combined national team, it is simply that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a collective, it does not exist as a nation.

    As for the Olympics, the only reasons are losing power in football and unfounded fears about being forced to field combined teams. Which has a positive and negative spin, depending on your viewpoint.

    YW

  34. Haha! I’m going to ask him to try that on Saturday night, gunnerluc. Although he is more Murtaugh in temperament. I’m Riggs.

  35. No idea if the news from the Swiss means that Djourou will play again this season but at least the injury isn’t as bad as first feared. Wish him a very very very quick recovery.

  36. The combined team in the Olympics has more to do with the history of the Olympics than it does the history of Britain.

  37. Worst two weeks of being an arsenal fan! Thought I’d stay away these first few days until ACLF returned back to normal as am sure there were alot of doom mongers in the said day. Losing DJourou hurt more than losing to that manure scum.

    Someone mentioned in the last comments that this team opt to play without fear of losing, that’s hard enough but having everyone (media, stupid fans, referees) on your back makes it harder. Mad Jens, is that really the best that we could get? Dont know how to take the news so will just have to wait and see. Let us win the premier league, not too bad a consolation for being kicked out of the cups hey.

  38. Didn’t Theo dislocate both shoulders one after another? Some kind of genetic/hereditary thing as I remember. He had to have surgery on them to cure the problem once and for all.

  39. Yes, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland are seperate countries but combined they are the United Kingdom or ‘Great Britain’ which I think is the point that Borges was making. Lets be honest, all four are total shite as individual teams, how much more shite could they be if they were combined? I don’t see any advantage!

  40. LimparAssist | March 15, 2011 at 11:09 am |

    Good play. Liking his style of play. Thanks.

  41. Yeah, yeah frank we get you are old. But you guys coined yourselves UK, British, whatever. America and Canada didnt regardless of how old they are.

    Exactly Mongolian gooner. The oppressed never really trust the opressers.

  42. LOL. Anyone see Best of the Best on telly last night? Shoulder dislocation? Fuck that. POP IT TOMMY!!

    Also the dude in Friday Night Lights got one and played on. Djourou is a pussy. JK obv.

  43. It reminds me of Captain Planet – except it’s four bog-standard teams combining their powers to create a hoofball titan.

    United Kingdom, they’re our heroes, gonna take possession down to zer…oh fuck it.

  44. I don’t see no harm in having Lehmann on the bench. Throwing an untried youth keeper at the crunch point of the season is by far a worse choice to take.

    I just wonder what Almunia must be thinking. I don’t think he will be having fond memories of the last time Lehmann warmed the bench!

  45. Borges Spinelli

    Hmmm, we’ll have to agree to disagree on what constitutes a nation.

    …back to sporting matters

    On the upside, for next season, we’ll have my fellow countryman, Pedro Botelho back from his prolonged loan spells in Espanha; eager to occupy Left-back and Midfield role for us, following his 3 year work permit debacle. Gibbs has failed to convince me of his readiness to dethrone Clichy.
    Did I mention that Botelho also adds speed, much needed power & height to our backline at 6ft 2?

    If we want to purchase quality players who will set the league alight with flair, Wenger needs to look no further than in Cruzeiro, Fluminese and Corinthians for ’em.

    I’d give anything to see the likes of Alexandre Pato, Lucas Moura, Paulo Henrique Ganso (watch out for his name in the future…Rivaldo + Kaka in one)and Hazard Eden in Arsenal colors. Swapping Bendtner for Pato and Denilson for Ganso. Lucas Moura & Ganso are 2 of the 3 hottest young players current in the Brazilian Serie A.

    Imagine our forward line-up of van Persie, Pato, Walcott, Nasri, Fábregas and Wilshere with Hazard Eden, Ramsey, Ganso and Chamakh/Lucas Moura on the bench. Whoa! If only.

  46. Lehmann told German newspaper Bild: “This time I’m looking forward to being in a back-up role and will look to support Almunia. We can still win the title.”

    Quality Lehamnn talk, love it i have to admit!

  47. Looking for a good example of Jens acting a mental. Any ideas?

  48. That was a mean spirited way of admitting defeat, Borges.

  49. Markus

    Read the comments section here since Saturday. You’ll find plenty of examples that make Jens appear perfectly sane. Even urinating against an advertising hoarding…

    YW

  50. The wonderful thing about Jens is the way in which ‘fans’ rewrite history. Moaned like hell when he played for us the fuckers did.

  51. A bad decision to bring Lehmann back. But then it’s a decision we have come to expect of a manager who’s lost the plot in so many ways. Lehmann hates Almunia. What effects do you think this is going to have on team cohesion and morale if, as likely, a war of words breaks out in the dressing room ?
    Do you mean to tell me that we couldn’t find a quality keeper who’s much younger, and free of emotional baggage, to join us on loan ? Even perhaps a former first teamer who may have been displaced, and now plays in his club’s reserves, and so is keen to prove a point ? Come on !
    Oh I forgot – that might mean having to spend a bit more !
    “In Arsene we rust.”

  52. Oh dear oh dear oh dear

  53. Nabs a whining fan’s glasses. Take note doomers:

  54. For me the Olympics stood (for years) for amateur competition at a global level.

    Many of the Olympic team sports are now filled with professionals, what does that say?

    For years, some countries influenced their athletics’ performance levels with substance treatments, the race for the most medals, what does that say.

    Look at the Tour de France. Most of the recent winners have used banned substances……as in American baseball.

    Its all bundled as entertainment (for those gullible to still believe there is a level playing field). Oops, sounding too cynical.

  55. Spectrum,

    If you’re referring to Shay Given, he’s injured.

    Try a little research before spouting off.

    YW

  56. HaHa! Those spectacle pilfering reflexes were like Superman an shit. Booya.

  57. OOU, you do realise that Captain Planet is responsible for the peace process in Northern Ireland? Seriously. Look it up on Youtube. Captain Planet in Belfast. Awesome.

  58. How can I get this irate fan to stop following me?

  59. Yogi’s Warrior – No I wasn’t referring to Given. Try not to presume what I’m thinking before you “spout off “.
    By the way – there are keepers outside England that he could have considered. Guess that’s all too hard, though.
    “In Arsene we rust “

  60. If he does pull the gloves on for us once more, it will be interesting to see how he reacts on corners against us. This season our keepers haven’t had an inch of space. The league title victory at Shite hart lane springs to mind, not a very fond memory.

  61. So where have you been all this time, Sputum?

  62. Spectrum, nice to see u worm your way out onto the blog to have a little moan.

    Where have you been all season?

  63. I just checked out some of that Northern Ireland episode, Markus. Holy shit!

  64. Spectrum

    Yes you were. Oh and for those keepers outside of the UK, name them.

    Try to not to be a brat or the spam bin awaits.

    YW

  65. LimparAssist, thanks for the video link. Looks like Lansbury is ready for the Arsenal first team.

  66. Haha Markus – I’ve seen that. Terrible accents, but funny! Captain Planet can sort it out all right!

  67. YW,
    morning, good points.
    If Mad Jens possible comeback is a real deal it shall be a very positive development on many levels. Also, JD possible earlier recovery news is a jolly good stuff if true, as well…
    …Sorry, wanted to touch something off current topic here, something that for some folks is probably water under the bridge already, but I, for some reason, am having a hard time to let it go.
    YW and many others esteemed posters here,
    please tell me:
    1. In your heart of hearts, do you feel that Koscielny (or Chesney, or both for that matter, depens on how you look at that episode in CC final)
    owes AFC supporters a some sort of an articucated aloud apology (mind you, in any form or manner)? I know it is a small gesture but I am sure it would do a world of good for both parties:
    a simple, sincere, not too fussy sorry words, indicating that the whole thing is not a water on the duck’s back stuff for them (sure, I realize, they care but still communication here is a major major thing)
    2. Do believe that Diaby’s musings in France just 3 (three) days after that infamous Newcastle game, where he is lightly and nonchalantly pondering upon comparisons with Paddy and playing in the future for Barca or Real, are slightly out of touch with any sensible feelings of AFC supporters for he (Diaby) is party responsible for that dreadful Newcastle result (I will not talk here about the ref’s perfomance or horrible filthy c*nts like Barton, Nolan and co, the profound hatred I have for them is limitless) and should have known better and apologise then shut it and just work extra hard to do better in the next game? Not too subtle a person, is he? Funny thing that manager calls him “a very intelligent boy” just on a very same day :(…
    Ok, thanx in advance,
    Peace to all

  68. First Lady @11.21

    Worse two weeks being an Arsenal fan.FFS thank god you didnt support us in the mid 70’s when we nearly got relegated twice and 81-86 under Neill and Howe.JCL’s like you dont know you have been born

  69. Man I love Mad Jens. He did not take sh*t from anyone whether as a gooner or a member of the German national team. That w/c final(?) where he saved all penalty kicks to help Germany win tells you all you need to about his mental strength. Shoved Oliver Kahn down to the bench. What a character.
    Plus, despite all the fuss about Almunia taking his job, I hsaw interviews with him and press reports after he returned to Germany and he never had a bad word to say about Big Al, Wenger or the club. Never.
    He is a competitor but he is not mean and spiteful. At 41, I just hope he he never leaves the bench; just be that a nice insurance policy sitting in the bank in case of a disaster.

  70. I hope almunia stays fit, and so does everybody else !!!!

  71. When those shit kickers use to foul Jens during corners by standing in front of him and stepping on his toes Jens had the seniority to retaliate and not get penalized by the refs. But because our poxy fans got on the backs of Almunia and Fabianski, our opponents would get away with murder (Blackburn, Bolton etc) and the refs did absolutely nothing to protect the goalies. They allowed blatant fouls knowing their would be no blowback even from so-called gooners, much less the army of shitty pundits.

  72. Kelvin, leave the lady alone all she said was that it was her first bad weeks being an Arsenal fan, you obviously had yours many years ago, how quick YOU have forgot

  73. Spectrum; What a stupid and non thought out post. Under the circumstances name another keeper that is available outside of the trandfer window and is ready made to slot into the required position. You spout total trash without a moments thought to what you are posting. You are on the wrong blog, LeGrove is what you are looking for. Now jog on you fucking idiot!

  74. Borges Spinelli

    Having Lehmann is a bonus rather than a negative. He has won trophies with us in the past. He is vastly experienced and no doubt be willing to impart his goal-keeping experience with Fabianski & Szczesny. In addition to that, the man is a winner with an attitude to match. Which can only benefit our team in the longterm.

    Besides, being a goal-keeper does not require the same fitness level of a box-to-box midfielder. A high level of concentration for the entirety of a game is prerequisite. Let’s not forget Lehmann was playing top-level football until his retirement last season. Methinks, between now and April 2 is sufficient enough time to work on his sharpness. Therefore all this bawling over the german maestro’ supposed lack of fitness, is absolutely inconsiquent.

  75. MD
    1.. Wenger’s comments on how both players were absolutely devastated and wrecked says it all. Go on to arsenal.com and have a read if you haven’t done so, you could even see at the final wristle how much it means to our lads. Not just them 2.

    2.. Diaby was hacked and kicked for much of that game, I know it isn’t an excuse but even Sagna lost his temper in a previous game when Bowyer kept hacking at him. Footballers are human, Beckham kicked out against Argentina, Lehamnn has lost it a few times, Vieira too, Henry, Bergkamp etc etc..

  76. “transfer” (spelling)

  77. Thought I’d drop by and see how you Wenger worshippers are performing. Nothing has changed, I see. Still fanatically loyal to the manager you all think IS Arsenal. Nothing will alter your blind perceptions. Oh, and still quick to spew out the bile and vicious comments to anyone who might dare to have a differing view on where the club is headed under your Glorious Leader. How was the group holiday you all had in North Korea ?
    Now you’re back, here’s the news….. from being in the hunt for four trophies, we are now down to one. The manager still says this is the “best team he’s ever had”, we ( still ) have that famed “mental strength” and now “we have steel” as well !
    He still thinks Denilson is a good player ( otherwise why would he still keep picking him ? ) Diaby is a world beater, and that tactics is something best left to other teams. So nothing new there.
    But wait. There is some” good” news. Your season tickets are about to go up by 6.5% for the privilege of watching an underperforming team coached by a complacent has – been who can’t motivate them. But what does it matter if we aren’t successful ? There’s always NEXT season, and the one after that, and so on.
    So get out the excuse book, and be creative. You have to explain things away somehow.
    “In Arsene we rust.”

  78. shotta

    Fully agree with your point on the corners. Its not just our keepers however, its our whole team. The Arsenal players of today can pick up a yellow card very easily while the opposition hacks at our players for 90mins. Maybe its down to youth. Scholes should have clearly been sent off, that is not the 1st time nor the last he will get away with wreckless challenges. His reputation and experience seems to earn him that right, which is wrong.

    I have noticed Wilshire of late barking a bit at the referees, Walcott as well this season. I just wonder if Wenger has purposefully instructed them to as its obvious the refs have no time for our foreign players. Cesc started to this season, I think its something our growing team will be better at – maybe we will start getting a few more decisions. Thats how United win titles after all!

  79. Wow, uetterly alone in your criticism of the manager Spectrum. Not even Hansen is that mental. Ronery?

    Kim Jong Il FTW!!

  80. SPECTRUM

    If you can’t worship the club, including the manager and the players then your at the wrong place.

    As a supporter of such a fine club you should be able to put your support in front of your tainted views. I don’t know any genuine supporter who cannot see the talent which we currently have and the success which lies just ahead.

    What are your thoughts regarding the title race, whats your reasoning for us sitting 3 points behind with a game in hand…?

    Your answer will be United and Chelsea are performing badly, so like the rest of the trash reporters and football pros you are willing to put your influenced views ahead of your support.

    TO CONCLUDE.. your shite mate

  81. Spectrum: Remind us all again, what team is it that you support?

  82. “Thought I’d drop by and see how you Wenger worshippers are performing.” – is pure Muppet.

  83. I guess he subscribes to JonJon’s theory about “tough love”, DFG. Though it seems in more of literal, self-flagellating gimp kind of a way.

  84. Media Gooner

  85. I predict Aaron Ramsey will tear Man Utd apart next time he plays at Old Trafford. For now though, he will have to content himself with tearing them apart at the Arsenal stadium.
    …One Aaron Ramsey…

  86. Spectrum, Please enlighten us with your choice for a manager to replace Arsene? Just a thought but would sacking the clubs most successful and frugal manager ever be the right thing to do? We know how loyal his players are and a sacking of the man could lead to a mass exodus, but that is obviously okay as we can then spend the Billions of pounds we have that Arsene never spends right???

    What a load of crap, this season we have seen a marked improvement on the field and yes we have failed to so far take the final step. Maybe getting so far in 4 tournaments is failure in your eyes?? At the start of the season if someone had offered you a new manager that would have this team 3 point behind with a game in hand with ten games to go you would have bitten their hands off, stop being such a twat. Arsene has his faults no doubt but I seriously doubt there is a better man for the job anywhere.

  87. Is it just me or does spectrum sound very similar to ‘old stoned tom’ from previous posts?

  88. Coach of the Decade and it passed the poor fucker by.
    Do feel sorry for some of these idiots. Pearls before swine as Consolsbob would say.

  89. Kelvin i wasnt born then and it really was the worst two weeks because we had about everything going for us, now we have only but one trophy to fight for but that’s not even the worst part, the negative reaction from the media and doomsters is.

  90. What’s JCLs?

  91. Great news about Djourou if it is true. Hard to know what to think. 2 weeks sounds overly optimistic. Hopefully he will be back in 3 -4 weeks.

    With luck Mad Jens turns out to be nothing more then an interesting side show. I loved him and his attitude as our GK but what happens if we actually have to see him in goal is anyones guess. Other then the West Brom game Almunia has performed very well this year so I expect him to start the last 10 games. Fingers crossed that he can play as well as he did in the Nou Camp.

    West Brom is a good chance to get back on our feet. They are one of the worst defensive teams in the league and we should be able to get back to scoring goals again. Hopefully the defense will knuckle down without JD and show the form they did during the run of games in Jan/Feb when we were regularly scoring 3 – 4 and conceding none. That was fun.

  92. Johnny Come Lately’s – First Lady, or youngsters in most cases. I would say everything is relative, if that was indeed your worst week as an arsenal fan then you have had it good till now!! Long may that continue I say!

  93. West Brom concede a goal a game on average under Hodgson, Bill, way better than par for the league. So don’t get all clammy about goal difference just yet.

  94. ChrisGoona,
    I can hear you here, but what I meant was that at such a hard times as after that fateful moment of misunderstanding which subsequently led to losing the CC final, one might feel the urge to share the pain, share that dreadful human experience, open the heart to the team mates and fans and apologize… The feeling that so many people worked so hard to reach the final (for some reason I imagine Lansbury’s airborne WH lane celebration!) were let down by your mistake must have been overwhealming. I am sure (hope rather) he apologized to the lads in the dressing room and apologizes were wholeheartedly accepted etc but what I missed was a few warm words to the fans…
    2. Indeed, Diaby was bruttaly treated and understandably reacted (sorry that he could not smack that Barton twat harder). I just think he should not talk utter nonsense in the immediate aftermath of the Newcastle game. It was so misplaced, it’s unreal… One with any sense and conscience would keep a very low-profile after such events…

    By the way, why JW always feels the need to apologize after bad games?
    What is it: upbringing? heart? sense of duty?
    He, for sure, does not need cheap popularity or something?

  95. MD

    The cheap public sorrys are what I relate to the John Terry’s and Rooney’s of this world. I don’t need to hear the Arsenal players come out publicly and be laughed at by our biassed media. What an Arsenal player says in the media doesn’t always turn out as the player planned it to anyway.

    What I want to see is commitment and desire on the pitch. I don’t think we can fault any of our players for their work rate and attitude in the last few games. We have gone out to win all of them despite our recent exit from 3 competitions.

    I think its a rather cheap shot on your part to be picking out Diaby for special treatment. What about Cesc who messed up badly against Barca, Van Persie who failed to take his chances against United..

    Lose as a team mate, no need blaming individuals.

  96. Limpar:

    I did not know that West Brom had improved that much under Hodgson, my bad. Comfortable win would be nice but any sort of win would do. Would love to see Nasri start to score again.

  97. We need to re-install some confidence, we need a win, we need goals, but most importantly we need this league title.

    Every game needs 1000% focus. I am still very confident our players can achieve their main target for the season.

    As glamorous as the Champs League is, or as nice as it would have been to bring home one of the domestic cups… winning the league is no consolation. Its quite funny how the media have swung it in such a manner though.

  98. ChrisGoona,
    well, fair enough. Then, it’s just me I guess, I defo needed few sincere sorrys from LK after CC final…
    Ok, let’s not dwell on it too much, time to move on, here is to our big revival on Sat!
    ta ta

  99. Seems that JD is definitely out for the rest of the season – AFC expect him to have surgery this week and that’s yer lot as far he’s concerned.

  100. YW:

    Bummer for JD. I guess its better then a knee or a leg injury since he should be back to full strength next year with no long term problem from a football standpoint.

  101. The first line of an obscure old Country Western song said “If it wasn’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all”. Sort of fits the mood. Hopefully Kos and Squillaci can make it thru 10 games without incident.

  102. Whatever else you can say about Hogdson’s teams they can defend well. His tactics seem to be to set up as a solid unit that is tough to break down. Don’t expect West Brom to come and play open as they have done in previous years.

  103. Chris Goona – Just trying to inject some gritty perspective. This is a forum isn’t it ? Forums by their nature involve discussing robust opinions both for AND against. Otherwise it’s not a true forum but an exclusive and elitist club. ( Sound familiar ? )
    Your opening sentence reveals the big difference between the A.K.B.’s and what I call the”realist” camp.You say I should not be on here unless I “worship” (?) the manager ( as well as the team and club). I can AND DO support the club, and our players generally. But I do not, and will not, “worship” them. And certainly not the manager. Not ANY manager for that matter. Particularly if they display signs of decline as Wenger obviously has.
    ” I believe” ( hey- I’m sounding like him! )…. the reason we’re doing well in the league is basically DESPITE Wenger not BECAUSE of him. It’s certainly not due to his tactical nous, because he is inept in that department. More down to the individual hard work of a core group of talented players, Nasri, Van Persie, Wilshere and one or two others. And secondly, as you say, that the other teams are struggling for consistency too. But there are far too many who are not good enough and should have gone long ago. Another of Wenger’s failings is that he can’t see this. And if he does, he does nothing about it. Which is worse, as it could well cost us the title, as it has done in previous seasons.
    “In Arsene we rust.”

  104. Limestonegunner

    A British national team is nothing like telling Canada, Mexico etc.. that they are part of the US. Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland are all politically united in one kingdom, hence UK. This current situation is really more like telling Galicia, Catalonia, the Basque territory and so forth that they all have national teams recognized by FIFA/UEFA and will play their internationals separately, like the Catalans try to do with their unofficial national team.

    The only reason for this is history, the fact that football was organized in England and spread first within the UK, and the national football cultures that developed historically took shape with different FA’s and leagues. None of these regions are politically recognized internationally as different nations at present. The whole thing is full of inconsistencies that are simply historical developments. Why do Welsh teams participate in the English leagues but not in the national team, for instance? Brazil has regional leagues for club football but a united international team by contrast.

    So the only reason for the current situation is tradition. That’s how it was yesterday and now there are all sorts of investments and interests that would be too difficult to overcome to regularize the situation. What it means is that UK football supporters aren’t as likely to see their country win major international tournaments as they would be if there was a genuine international squad representing the country and not national/sub-national regions.

    But I really don’t care about international football as much as club football and certainly don’t care if UK teams do well or not. I usually root for African or Asian countries in the WC or teams with players I like in the Euros.

  105. Limestonegunner

    Having said all that, hands off Jack Wilshere! It would be tragic if the pathetic performance of England internationally leads to the hyping of JW too early into some sort of savior resulting in either burn-out/injuries or a career derailed under the weight of undue expectation.

  106. With Djourou I get the impression that the Swiss FA want him to have aquick fix, while Arsenal realise that the injury could come back to haunt him and aren’t taking any chances with full corrective surgery.

  107. Limestonegunner

    Question, do Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland have independent diplomatic representation abroad, independent militaries, independent foreign policies? Devolution may be the direction of political organization but the current system of states and international recognition is what defines participation in international football with the sole exception of the UK. It is simply a historical anomaly in the history of football’s development. This doesn’t have any bearing on the “national” character or not of Wales, Scotland etc… But as nations that were incorporated into British sovereignty in the early modern period or earlier, the UK is the internationally recognized entity and that is what counts for FIFA/UEFA in all other cases. There are plenty of other examples of separate “nations” and “countries” that are incorporated into an internationally recognized sovereign nation, like Spain. Like Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union until their dissolutions which then and only then saw the establishment of new national teams for the new internationally recognized sovereign nations.
    Like it or not, UN recognition of a sovereign nation constitutes status in international affairs and law and FIFA will not otherwise recognize or sanction a national team without that status (again with the sole exception of the UK for no other reason than history and tradition) because to do so would be to provoke major political problems and violate the international system.

  108. Dupps:

    Thanks. I really dislike most country music but I am bombarded here in Texas. That is much better then the song that I remember hearing that line in.

  109. The word kingdom refers to a monarchy. The separate monarchies of the ‘countries’, and they are countries, were united by force. There is at least as good an argument for separating the countries for sporting purposes as there is to uniting them. In fact since the political direction is towards separation it would be deeply problematic to even attempt to unite the countries to play football.

  110. I thought ‘Born under a bad sign’ was a blues song?

  111. You have the added problem that England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland football teams were playing before UEFA or FIFA existed.

  112. The fact is that the four countries exist and are recognised as separate entities just as much as they exist and are recognised as a united entity. You can choose either. To attempt to make the change would be obtuse and a tad dictatorial don’t you think?

  113. Great Great write up yesterday Yogi!! as is the norm, well done today too!

    FunGun, your comments were 2nd to none yesterday. Brilliant!

    If Arsene has lost the plot with this lot of players, i pray he continues to lose it. This team is bound for greatness, get on the wagon now or move on. We dont want the Spectrums of this world rejoicing in our winnings! Keep being negative please!

    One refs decision and an odd terrible mistake away from a cup (only one team looked likely to win the CC at the end) and moving on in the CL (I believe) and people come to some innacurate conclusion without regarding the actual circumstances. Shame!

    Wilshere is pure class. I only hope that a Walcott situation doesnt arise. If Wilshere is in the senior team, so let it be.

    Hoping for the best for DJ. After all the long term injuries he has become one of the best defenders around!

  114. Limestonegunner

    There may be every reason to argue that Frank, but it doesn’t change the fact that UK is just an exception to the principle that is applied in all other circumstances currently. I never said it wasn’t deeply problematic to attempt to unite Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England to play football–but those problems are all having to do with the fact that people in the UK are used to having separate teams for internationals and have FA’s and all sorts of financial/bureaucratic interests that would have to be overcome to do so despite their political integration into the UK that exists as the recognized sovereign nation for all other international, military and diplomatic affairs of state.

    The silly thing is to pretend that there is any real reason other than an inconsistent application of the standard for all other countries by reason of the long history with football and the way it developed in the British Isles. It is an anomaly that survives. If the system changes and political devolution leads to a rearranging of the terms for recognized national sovereignty internationally then there might indeed be the creation of new teams for FIFA sanctioned international matches and tournaments, and suddenly Wales, Scotland and so on will not be so anomalous. It is pretty unlikely but remotely possible. Then you can root for Catalonia in international tournaments, along with Tibet, Quebec, the Western Sahara, Palestine, the individual Emirates, Lesotho, the Flemish, Wallonia and so forth… Happy days!

  115. Perhaps we could play as the British Commonwealth? OR the British Empire. Yes that would be good. We could play in pink to represent all the pink bits on British maps, or is it atlases or gazeteers, charts even.

  116. Interesting the UN, its affiliation with Alice Bailey – The Lucis Trust aka Lucifer Trust.

  117. Kindom – Kings domain, I think anyway.

  118. You see someone always has to come up with a ‘rule’ and treat the ‘rule’ as a fact. As if it had been discovered rather than invented. You could just as well say well look this is how we want to do it politicitty, self detrumb, soverititis etc etc. Anyone different? Oh yep I see you play separately as countries but not poli whatsits in Brit? OK anyone object? Nope. OK fine off you go have fun and we look forward to watching you play.

    But no. Some cunt has to stick their fucking oar in and have it changed.

  119. Can I root for Freedonia? I’m rooting for Freedonia…

  120. As for ‘reason’, Limestone. There does not have to be a ‘reason’ at all. Just a ‘result’, borne of negotiation and diplomacy. The fat fucker from Switzerland who doesn’t even like football by his own admission ought to understand that principle. After all he would not know a ‘rule’ if it jumped up and poked him in the eye. So why get all sanctimonious about this issue?

  121. Limestonegunner

    Who is having it changed? Sorry, but you aren’t a victim of anything as nothing is changing for you. This was a discussion in answer to a question someone had about an anomalous situation. There was a lot of simplistic assertion that it was BECAUSE Wales, Scotland etc… are separate nations and countries, when that isn’t the actual explanation.

    I didn’t say the “rule” was discovered, Frank. It was invented, and when it was invented, as you point out, the FA’s of Wales, Scotland etc… already existed and an exception was made in grandfathering them in. In fact, you take a rather more limited and essentialist view than I do. All nations and nation-states are inventions and constructs in various ways. However, they also happen to be real in political, institutional, and historical terms. FIFA follows the lead of the international system of sovereignty, which likewise exists and is real even if it is a construct and could change. The powers may wax and wane according to the structure of the global economic order and changes that take place politically. But until a different system for organizing sovereignty is developed and recognized globally, I am afraid FIFA is likely to follow the current manner of sanctioning international football matches–a situation which leaves the UK in an anomolous position for purely historical reasons that go against the principles that are applied to other participants in the international game.

    And since no one is threatening the independent footballing existence of Wales, Scotland, England or Northern Ireland, you can relax on that score, but that doesn’t mean it makes any consistent sense. It wouldn’t be the first thing in football or in history or in life that doesn’t, so pointing it out is hardly an attack on their existence. Did I say I was against tradition? If the people of the UK want to preserve their tradition as it has been atypically accommodated in FIFA at the expense of football success, that is certainly their own business. In some ways, that is rather romantically admirable, but it isn’t the whole explanation of the situation and why that situation exists.

  122. Christ it is bad enough having to watch a team full of players who you detest on a week by week basis because of the clubs they play for. Throw in a few Scotsmen and my passive disinterest in the national team might just become an active one.

  123. Limestonegunner

    Frank, you and others were the ones who were being sanctimonious by asserting all sorts of reasons for why it should and must be the way it is, rather than saying as you are saying now: it developed that way through historical negotiation and is an anomaly, but we like it, so hopefully it won’t change even if it doesn’t really make much sense from the perspective of the rest of the world.

  124. My beef is with Sepp Blatter, Limestone. What are you his fucking legal representative? A rule was created in the full knowledge that there was an anomaly. In other words the rule did not even pass its first test. A precedent was set.

  125. People who listen to the media pundits should know that even if we win the league, they will not credit us with the effort but will find another excuse we won it. Like we were “lucky”…ya something outrageous like that, or because poor United had to play in 3 competitions and Arsenal had only one. Of course they probably have many more reasons to discredit us, than I do.

  126. Sepp is A Hole

  127. Is Mad Jens really coming back?

  128. It would be hilarious if he comes back for a few months, G4E. Great fun. It would definitely lift the mood in the camp. Personally I am looking forward to seeing Ignassi play a bit more. I think he is going to be some player.

  129. Look, for all those people out there who are not English, Welsh, Irish or Scots, it’s very simple.

    A couple of thousand years of history has brought about a situation whereby we fouR nations rub along alright together and even unite in time of war but when it comes to sport…

    WE DON’T WANT TO PLAY WITH EACH OTHER ON A REGULAR BASIS BECAUSE WE WANT TO BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF EACH OTHER!

    Got it now?

  130. Limestonegunner

    Gunner4ever, they will say if we win that the league was poor at the top and that we are the weakest champion in the history of the PL era. They will undermine the achievement one way or another, but it will be hard for them to explain why we go on the following season to get a repeat league title and an additional trophy or two on top of that.

  131. Dups @ 1:19
    “Is it just me or does spectrum sound very similar to ‘old stoned tom’ from previous posts?”

    I thought the exact same thing! Hard to say really though, bc they could just be beginning to accept and buckle to the daily brainwashing at Le-Grove. Same phrasings and populist gripings to boot!

  132. also I’ve really been enjoying the whole UK/GB thing… especially YW’s assertions about USA and Canada and Mexico hahaha mad my day! Especially then seeing a Canadian defending Canada!! I found that hilarious

  133. Frank,
    Amen on Ignasi. He looked classssssssy. Each of those “S”s stands for one of his brilliant skills.

  134. Great to see Jens back. It may be the stroke of genius you suggest.

    The various FAs have come about for historical reasons, they predate the international bodies, I am sure. Some background here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_national_football_team

    They are reluctant to combine into a UK/GB (why Team GB? That crazy name doesn’t include NI in its title) team because it will threaten the status of their respective FAs and leagues and prevent them from competing independently of each other. I believe that the various FAs checked this with either UEFA or FIFA ahead of the last Olympics and this was confirmed — they would lose their status and have to be become part of a UK FA.

    See this article in The Scotsman newspaper, which quotes Blatter:

    Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, has been inconsistent in his views on how a Team GB would impact on the autonomy of the home nations. Five years ago, he said a united team could be formed, with no harm to the separate associations. However, this spring, he appeared to perform a U-turn, suggesting that such a team “will put into question all the privileges that the British associations were given”.

    Full article here:
    http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/topstories/GB-united-or-an-own.4424661.jp

    What would that mean for the leagues, European games etc? And I can’t see how the EPL wouldn’t be affected. Too much of a headache for an “amateur” competition that comes around every 4 years.

  135. I wouldn’t have thought that many Scottish ‘UK football supporters’ would take much pleasure in a ‘Team GB’ triumph in a major international tournament when the sum Scottish representation for ‘Team GB’ was a shouty physio and a water-bottle carrier. In fact, I would think there would be uproar.

  136. It may even go a ways to hurrying along devolution if anything. In which case, I’m all for it.

  137. I don’t think a bigger pool of players neccessarily gives you a higher chance of success at all. Especially when you have to share the pool with Darren Fletcher. Uruguay has a population of 3.5 million and a better World Cup record than most.

  138. Ignasi looks pretty good. I hope we don’t see him again this year though, as that will mean that we are either:

    a. Fucked in defence.
    b. Title race over.

  139. Hear! Hear! Limpar, and they can take the Cornish as well.

  140. I could not give a rats arse about an international football.

  141. With Mad Jens back i smell 10 clean sheets for Manuel!

  142. If we were on the barricades, goonerandy, surrounded, besieged and planning how best to use our final ammunitions to break the enemy line and win the day… I think we’d have to shoot you… for fear that your panicky, morose outlook on the situation would spread through the ranks and ruin our chances.

  143. And then your would realise that your own forces were not as well drilled as you had 1st believed, and would be pummeled to death 😉

  144. Limestonegunner

    Soccernomics determined that wealth, population, and history were the factors best predicting international tournament success. It seemed a convincing argument but also designed to explain the extraordinary case of Uruguay, since their football history as a nation is among the very best with their early participation and success in international tournaments.

    I think being able to pair Aaron Ramsey with Jack Wilshere would improve any other midfield pairing in Wales or England. I certainly am looking forward to it in Arsenal’s team and expect that combination to lead to real domination in a couple years.

  145. I’m undecided on Cornwall, cb. Not least because of the clotted cream. We can’t have every Tom, Dick and Harry hoisting a hastily assembled patchwork flag and defecting off into the wilderness.

    Though if anyone from Birmingham or Stoke wishes to try that… then they should of course feel free.

    Completely concur with your beating the crap out of eachother comments, btw.

  146. Limestonegunner

    Speaking of Fletcher, one of my favorite Ramsey moments is when in a Wales shirt he made Fletcher for Scotland look an absolute and ineffective mug, breaking artfully past him and then showing immense strength and balance to score a fantastic goal despite Fletcher’s most thuggish attempts to bring him down in the penalty box.

    If you all really wanted your best arguments for separate national teams, that was it. But that is pretty much what Cbob, showing his consummate wisdom, was essentially saying.

  147. But I think if you asked Aaron Ramsey to play for England he’d tell you to fuck off, Limestonegunner. And if you asked them both to play for ‘Team GB’ they’d both tell you to fuck off.

    They’d word it better I’m sure, because they’re fine, upstanding young Arsenal pros… but you’d get the idea.

  148. Pimlico. That is my national team. Pimlico. Great country. Even made a film about it.

  149. Limestonegunner

    Love the clotted cream. But I thought there was some dispute about its origin and place in tea with scones and jam–aren’t there Devonian claims to consider?

    Viva devolution, down with nationalism!

  150. Limestonegunner

    LA, where did I say Ramsey should be forced to play for England in my comments? I don’t think you read closely or understood. I was responding to your Fletcher remarks and that greater population doesn’t necessarily lead to a better team. First, I agree it doesn’t necessarily do so and mentioned some other factors. But it increases options. One example of a great option that currently isn’t possible is Ramsey-Wilshere.

  151. If Arsenal took a leaf out of Pimlico’s book, we could declare Arsenal a country and start issuing passports instead of tickets. Players of course can be naturalised on signing a contract. Certainly gets rid of the club vs country argument. Same thing.

  152. Oh undoubtedly, Limestonegunner. There have most probably been countless British footballers driven into the game and driven to excellence almost purely for the sake of home nation rivallry.

  153. Hard to see a war being won if you have a defeatest mindset to begin with though. You go to war with who you have, thus faith at all costs. Either that or wave the white flag.

  154. Limestonegunner

    You have to know how to best use the additional options, of course. Plenty still left for managers to screw up in their selections, training methods, tactics and so forth.

  155. Arsenalese, Arsenalish, Arsenalian….

  156. We could expel some fans to England for their shoddy support, after torturing them of course. Checkpoint CharlieGeorge and Checkpoint CharlieNicholas on the two bridges.

  157. Limestonegunner

    Language: Arsenalese. Nationality: Arsenalian. Form of Government?

  158. We would need to extend the border a bit though to include Arsenal tube station, a couple of pubs and a chip shop.

  159. Dictatorship without a doubt and fuck this benevolent nonsense

  160. I didn’t say you did say what I think you think I thought you said, Limestone. I’m just saying that if Wales and England ceased to be distinct footballing nations and you asked Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere to play in the midfield of the phoenix to rise from those ashes… then you may still never see that combination on an international stage because they may well tell you to fuck off.

  161. We would need somewhere to keep our horses of course. Perhaps the gardens in the Highbury apartments. Bugger it would could make Highbury Square the home of our parliament as well as football.

  162. Limestonegunner

    Great you cleared that up, LA. Maybe they would, but future Ramseys and Wilsheres might not when living memory of the current fashion fades. When that happens, an old 95 year old codger named LimparAssist might tell future Ramsey from Cardiff that he shouldn’t play international football with future Wilshere from Stevenage and they might tell you to “f-off” in the polite and respectful terms appropriate to a very senior but obviously batty fellow.

    Since I never planned to ask either one to do that as you acknowledge, luckily we’ll never find out what they would say!

  163. Limestonegunner

    It hardly needs mentioning that heaven forfend such an awful day should ever arrive!

  164. Limestonegunner

    No need to trouble too much with the parliament in the dictatorship; though it may be useful for some symbolic purposes–like the AGM, in fact.

  165. Frank, I think Mad Jens would whip our back line into shape…he doesn’t take bull-shit from any one. I was one of the people who was always nervous watching him play not because of his abilities as a goal keeper, but for his ability to get riled up….but maybe we need that, a goal keeper who’s not going to get pushed around in his box, and also will not hold back on correcting his line. Any way, I just hope if he comes back, he doesn’t piss on a referee, or maybe I would like to see that 🙂
    ===
    Limestone, I would say who cares what they think? This should always be our fans attitude if we win trophies or not. Pundits are also A Holes, like their God Father Sepp the big A Hole.

  166. Limestonegunner

    The goal I was talking about–wonderful stuff. Looking forward to having you back Aaron.

  167. Limestonegunner

    I agree Gunner4ever. I won’t enjoy it any less.

  168. Look at the man united line up. I cannot belive they are currently the best team in England. MILES ahead of Liverpool and Chelsea. We are the only team that can overtake them this year. Hope we do.

    SAF is making a mockery of everybody if that team wins. Look at their backline! Oshea, Brown, smalling and evra??

    I do want them to go through though, as i want their minds on something els but the PL. A nasty FA Cup tie and a heavy CL tie against say Real or Barca or maybe even Tottenham or Chelsea would fit perfectly.

  169. Borges Spinelli

    goonerandy | March 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm |

    “Ignasi looks pretty good. I hope we don’t see him again this year though, as that will mean that we are either:

    a. Fucked in defence.
    b. Title race over.”

    This comment cracked me up. Classic stuff!

  170. “Language: Arsenalese. Nationality: Arsenalian. Form of Government?”
    Form of Government: Arsenarchy
    Deity: Asnal.

  171. United are a lucky Bunch!

  172. Limestonegunner

    Nice, FG!
    Paul N, Fergie must have sold his soul to the devil.

    Borges, It just goes to show that over the last two or three years at least, Arsenal can give plenty of games to the 4th choice CB. Worries of how to keep top quality CB’s happy in the squad inevitably are made moot by the grueling nature of our league, the huge number of games we play, and our awful (inexplicable?) luck with injuries.

    Miquel will probably get a game or two. Koscielny and Squillaci have played lots of games this season, probably more than originally expected for their first season in the PL, and one or the other is likely to get a knock or two that could keep them out for a week during our run-in. I think he’ll do fine but I would have preferred (and said so in January) that if the Boss wanted to use him as the backup rather than purchase in the transfer window that Miquel should get some starts during our fixture congestion in January when Squillaci was out. It would be nice for his confidence and the team’s if he had a league start and three or four FA cup starts instead of just two FA cup games in case he needs to play during our run-in when there will be maximum pressure if we are still in the title chase, as I expect us to be.

    So I don’t quite agree with Goonerandy’s conclusion, humorous as it was.

  173. Borges Spinelli

    @Limestonegunner

    Thanks for expatiating what constitutes a country under international law. I thought it best not to pursue the subject matter further, in-order to prevent our resident, nationalist yobs from launching into their customary expletives, when words and sound reason elude them. Seeing as some of us are incapable of engaging in discourse, objectively, without resorting to cretinous tirades.

    Thanks, once again, my learned friend.

  174. Borges Spinelli

    Wenger is likely to stick with Koscielny, Squillaci and Song in CB. With Aaron Ramsey back, Song’s DM role will probably be split between Diaby/Denilson and Ramsey. Although i see Aaron more as an Attacking Midfielder. Le Boss knows best.

    It would be nice to see Miquel play a couple more games (preferably against Blackpool & Fulham), to end his 1st team excursion on a high.

  175. Limestonegunner

    Borges, thanks but it might have been a fruitless endeavor nonetheless! In the end, we are here as football fans, so one doesn’t expect to resolve other sorts of issues, but I often enjoy some of the digressions of other poster’s too…

    You might be right about Song filling in ahead of Miquel in CB, but frankly in the league I think he is indispensable in midfield and not easily replaced on most occasions by either Denilson or Diaby who both play quite differently. If we have the title sewn up (please, Lord!) Miquel could play against Fulham. Blackpool away is a good shout, but my concern is that we might not get a chance to choose the games. He’ll have to be ready to stand up in an intense game most likely. What if either Kos or Squillaci is out for the ManU game at home?! A stern test, but I think he looked quite composed overall.

  176. well deal with the devil or not, pray they go to the next stage, with half his team out with hamstrings and four more games tham us (two against City which he has to play his best team against) the only ones that can ruin this title for arsenal is arsenal themselves….

  177. or is it1 against city? for some weir reason i thought the FA semifinals was over two matches…

  178. Bad news for Eric Abidal, needing an op on friday. Diagnosed with liver cancer. Wish him well.

  179. Man u played the same way again tonight as they did against us. Lucky bastards they are.

  180. After the Mancs beat l’OM Barton said is because they don’t collapse. Then he said; Arsenal collapse, they don’t. Prick.

  181. Oh Borges and Limestone, you pair of utter fucking wankers

  182. Frank, a nationalist yob! Now I’ve heard it all.

    Actually for that matter, there’s been far too much intellectual masturbation on this site recently. And I’m not just saying that because I’m dim and can’t follow it.

  183. Every doomer out there should have a look at this article, concise and very well written. Support Arsenal or find another team it’s simple.

    http://desigunner.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/disappointed-yes-despondent-no-denigrating-never/

  184. Borges Spinelli

    Okay, so i decided to check out another blog today. Guys, you won’t believe the crazy posts my voyeuristic eyes saw. Below are a few excerpts:

    “Calls for Koscielny, Cesc, Nasri, Clichy and Chamakh to be sold at the end of the season.” (What the heck? Seriously! WHAT THE HECK???)

    “Replace Wenger with Ian Holloway at Blackpool.” (Who on earth is he?)

    “Start next season with a strong 1st team of:

    Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Bartley, Botelho; Ramsey, Frimpong Wilshere; Lansbury, RvP, Walcott”

    Bartley ahead of Djourou and Kosciely; Frimpong ahead of Song sounds delirious to me. And with no Cesc or Nasri in the playmaker role, against a team like Chelsea, Barcelona or Man Utd, this lineup would get hurt, real badly. But what do i know about a round ball game? Huh?

  185. Borges Spinelli

    Thanks, cyber braveheart. The feeling is mutual. @Frank

  186. In other news: Arsenal is the greatest team ever.

  187. i second that motion Evil

  188. Limestonegunner

    What a star you are, Frank!

  189. 14 days after the Baggies game. 14 fucking days of international crap. Club football is the way forward. When David Dein went so did the hopes of G14. They capitulated. Gave Blatter his way. It would please me to see Sepp Blatter in a Sumo contest with all the heads of all the Football Associations around the world. The ‘ring’ would be a platform placed in the middle of a large pool containing the most hungry sharks known to man (I will leave Limestone and Borges to Wiki that). The winner gets a free trip to the Moon. I will supply the tent.

  190. http://www.arsenal.com/news/reserves-news/37431/loan-watch

    …this page is one of the wonders of football. What a squad!

  191. Mongolian Gooner, I take the point of the article, however it was much easier (I don’t know if that’s the right word, but the league was much more even) to win back then,relatively small provincial teams could hope to win with a good manager such as Brian Clough. The skewed financial power towards the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and increasingly Manchester City has made winning the thing that much harder without the same kind of financial backing. If Wenger can get this team over the line it will probably be a greater achievement than Shankly winning after their barren spell in the sixties and seventies, but being able to go on to recreate the dominance of Liverpool in the late seventies and eighties will be harder.

  192. Harder yes, Block4. The only way to do it is to build from the foundations up. That is the beauty of AWs strategy. Look at the youngsters in the first teams squad, the loanee’s and recent acquisitions. Look at the financial rule changes soon to be imposed. Look at the strategies of our competitors.

  193. I dearly hope so Frank. The combination of the financial fair play rules (assuming they are implemented and enforced rigorously) and the ability to renegotiate our sponsorship contracts in a couple of years time (which are on unfavourable terms because we needed money quickly to finance the stadium build) should help us compete on a more even footing financially.

  194. The Scots and the Welsh just wouldn’t be having you I’m afraid Limestone, God bless ’em.

  195. And if you want to call it a fashion then I would say it is more timeless little black dress than tie-dye t-shirt.

  196. Couldn’t help but be impressed with the Old Trafford support last night. A whole songsheet of previously unheard, unrecognisable songs penned just for the occasion. Great effort. And what’s more, they sang them in French.

  197. Cornish clotted cream does exist but is generaaly inferior to that from Devon which has far better pature land. That’a what detemines how good cream is.

    Trouble is, for you London urbanites, the BBC and the rest of the arty farty media have led you all to believe that ‘Cornwall’ is the land of milk and honey full of wonderful food and villages full of fishermen and ex miners.

    In truth it is a brand, ruthlessly exploited by businessmen and those villages, some are lovely, are full of holiday homes owned by BBC executives and their ilk while the Cornish live on run down caravan sites on the edge of post industrial dumps like St Austell.

    Don’t get me wrong. I spent a lovely morning in Launceston yeterday stocking up on plants and brewing supplies, before returning to Devon for lunch of course, and i have spent a lopt of lovely times there.

    Largely ruined these days. BBC is mostly to blame.

  198. Club football extends beyond nonsensical national boundaries whether they be political, geographical, economic, religious or racial ones. That is why Jack and Aaron already get to play football together. Down with nation states, up with club football, is what I say. Hooorah.

  199. Oh and down with BBC Executives. Boooooooo. Off, off, off, off…..

  200. Limestonegunner

    Couldn’t agree more with your statement on club football. Where even Welshman, Scot, and Englishman can play together…

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